Inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, is a general term for digestive disorders that create inflammation in the intestinal tract, which affects about 1.3% of the U.S. population (or 3.1 million people), and those struggling with it are more likely to have chronic diseases. There are multiple factors that can contribute to getting any form of IBD. However you get IBD, it can wreak havoc on your digestive tract and lead to a perforated colon, dehydration, and other complications.
Ulcerative colitis is one of the conditions that fit under the IBD description, and while it can be unpleasant and potentially dangerous, it can be managed and treated. To better understand the condition and way to manage it, let’s examine what ulcerative colitis is, its causes and symptoms, and how to deal with flare-ups when they arise.
The skilled medical team at LoneStar Gastroenterology and Dr. Rajesh Mehta can help residents of the Austin, Texas, area who are dealing with digestive conditions like ulcerative colitis or other IBD problems.
Your intestines (small intestine, large intestine, and your rectum) are about 25 feet and play a vital role in digesting food. The soft muscles in both areas help to do a variety of things, like remove nutrients and water from food, and convert waste into feces for removal from the body. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in your intestinal tract, mainly affecting the large intestine and rectum. This condition doesn’t happen suddenly; many people develop symptoms of this IBD over a long period of time.
There are several types of colitis, but this form of IBD is the most common, and it is often due to your immune system abnormally reacting to bacteria and other things in your digestive tract. However, the actual cause is not well understood. This condition has different types that can affect your large intestine and colon, including proctosigmoiditis, left-sided ulcerative colitis, and pancolitis.
If you’re struggling with ulcerative colitis, you may experience symptoms, including:
There are medications that can help reduce symptoms and ease the pain, but the following tips can help you manage flare-ups easier:
Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and ice cream can exacerbate problems, along with high-fiber foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. And while water is good to help you stay hydrated, other drinks like alcohol can stimulate your colon, making the situation worse.
Planning smaller healthy meals throughout the day as opposed to the traditional three can help reduce symptoms as well as snacking.
Stress doesn’t cause colitis, but it can trigger signs of the condition. Controlling the issues that cause stress can help reduce flare-ups and make life for your digestive tract a little easier.
Ulcerative colitis and other IBD conditions can make your life very difficult, but you can cope with it, and we can help. Make an appointment with Dr. Mehta and LoneStar Gastroenterology today to get relief with IBD and other digestive problems.