Symptoms like rectal bleeding, lower abdominal pain, and chronic diarrhea could be signs of an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis. If you develop these problems, visit Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists in New York. At their offices in North Wantagh, South Wantagh, and Garden City, the board-certified physicians diagnose your symptoms and provide the most effective treatments. Call your nearest Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists office today or book an appointment online.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition of the large bowel (colon) and rectum. It’s one of the main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), along with Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
These symptoms can be severe, preventing you from leading a normal life.
Ulcerative colitis develops because of a problem with your immune system. The immune system protects you from bacteria, viruses, and other invaders that could make you sick. It does this by identifying potentially harmful microorganisms and destroying them.
When you have ulcerative colitis, your immune system mistakenly attacks normal, healthy cells in your colon and rectum. This causes inflammation and ulceration.
Autoimmune disorders can affect many of your body’s organs — conditions like celiac disease and Type 1 diabetes are also autoimmune in origin. They’re incurable, but Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists offers effective treatments that help you manage your ulcerative colitis symptoms.
After examining you, checking your medical history, and discussing your symptoms, your provider at Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists might order tests. Ulcerative colitis symptoms are like those of colorectal cancer, so it’s important to find the exact cause.
There are several ways to narrow down the possible causes of your symptoms. For example, a fecal occult blood test checks for blood in your stool that you can’t see. But one of the best ways of ruling out cancer and confirming ulcerative colitis is a colonoscopy.
This procedure involves having a colonoscope — a camera on the end of a flexible tube — in your rectum and colon. The camera sends back clear images of the tissues lining your bowel, so your provider can see any inflammation or polyps (small growths that occasionally become cancerous). They can also take a sample (biopsy) for lab tests.
The main treatments for ulcerative colitis are medications. Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists usually starts with an anti-inflammatory like mesalazine. You might need to use suppositories (pellets you insert in your rectum) and/or granules that you swallow with water.
If you’re still experiencing symptoms, your provider might suggest a stronger anti-inflammatory, typically a steroid. Another option is immunosuppressants — drugs that reduce immune system activity. Biologics (drugs that target specific causes of inflammation) are also effective.
It’s not common, but you might need surgery to remove the affected section of your colon and/or rectum if no other treatments help.
If you have ulcerative colitis symptoms, visit Long Island Gastroenterology Specialists for an accurate diagnosis and the most advanced treatments. Call or book online today.