Ulcerative Colitis Specialist Brisbane Northside
A research commissioned by the Crohn’s and Colitis Australia in 2013 have shown that almost 75,000 Australians suffer from Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. If not prevented, this number is projected to increase to 100,000 by 2022, which is why many people are consulting with a specialist in Brisbane for proper diagnosis, treatment, and prevention.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease characterised by the inflammation of the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Tiny open sores (ulcers) form on the lining surface that cause bleeding and produce an abnormal amount of mucus, which sometimes contains pus. When inflamed, the colon gets weaker at absorbing fluid from the faeces, resulting in diarrhoea. this disease only affects the lining of the colon, while Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
- Looser and more urgent bowel movements
- Diarrhoea with abdominal pain
- Blood in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling tired
Ulcerative colitis can occur in people of any age, and it may cause a delay in growth and development for children. The symptoms of this disease have a tendency to come and go, sometimes baffling physicians to evaluate if current treatments had been effective or not.
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
The exact cause of this disease is yet to be determined by specialists, but they found that factors like genetics, an overactive intestinal immune system, the environment, and antigens (foreign substances) have something to do with inflammation. It could also be the interaction of a virus or bacterial infection with the colon and the immune system.
A few studies also suggest that stress could increase a person’s chance of having an attack of ulcerative colitis. Other people also believe that eating certain food can also trigger a flare-up of this disease.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis Brisbane Northside
About 80-90% of ulcerative colitis patients respond well to treatment and never develop any complications. Treatment usually involves either drug therapy or surgery, depending on the severity of the disease.
The most common are anti-inflammatory drugs such as 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Patients are also prescribed with immunosuppressants, which suppresses the immune system response that galvanises the inflammation. Additional medications also include antibiotics, anti-diarrhoeal medications, pain relievers, and iron supplements to address anaemia.
Surgery becomes an option if a patient’s ulcerative colitis comes with colon cancer, dysplasia (precancerous cells in the colon), or mega-colon or bleeding. It can become a course of medical treatment if the patient has become dependent on steroids, suffers from side effects of medication, and shows no improvement over a period of time. Proctocolectomy is a surgical procedure that removes the entire colon and rectum, and though drastic, this cures ulcerative colitis.
Changing one’s diet and lifestyle can help control symptoms, improve intestinal health, and lengthen the time between flare-ups. Patients are advised to limit dairy products (especially when lactose intolerant), high fat, fibre, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine. Eating small meals than the usual three big meals a day make it easier for the stomach to digest food. Drinking plenty of water is highly recommended too.
At Ubuntu Medical, we also do Gut Health.