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Our Services / Ulcerative Colitis

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About Ulcerative Colitis

About 600,000 to 900,000 people in the United States have ulcerative colitis (UC). This chronic gastrointestinal disease causes inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of the large intestine. The board-certified physicians at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, specialize in diagnosing and treating ulcerative colitis at their 13 locations throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, University, and Pineville, North Carolina. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today to schedule a consultation. Telehealth appointments are available. 

Ulcerative Colitis Q & A

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). UC causes inflammation and ulcerations on the innermost lining of the large intestine, which is the last section of your digestive tract.

Almost everyone with ulcerative colitis has inflammation in their rectum, but the condition can affect the entire colon.

Though researchers are still investigating what causes someone to develop ulcerative colitis, it’s theorized that the cause includes a combination of genetics and environmental factors. This combination can trigger an abnormal immune reaction. 

This abnormal immune reaction causes inflammation. 

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis symptoms vary and depend on the severity of the inflammation and the parts affected. Common symptoms of UC include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody or mucousy stool
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Anemia
  • Poor appetite
  • Urgent need to use the bathroom

In most cases, UC symptoms start mild and worsen over time. However, only about 10% of ulcerative colitis patients develop the most severe symptoms, such as having more than six bloody bowel movements a day.

What tests are needed to diagnose ulcerative colitis?

Before ordering any tests, your gastroenterologist at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, conducts a thorough history and physical, including a review of your family history.

To diagnose ulcerative colitis, your gastroenterologist orders lab tests and does a colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. During a colonoscopy, your provider evaluates your entire colon, while during a flexible sigmoidoscopy, they only evaluate the sigmoid colon (the last section of your large intestine).

During these endoscopic procedures, your gastroenterologist biopsies the colon and rectum to confirm an ulcerative colitis diagnosis. 

What are my treatment options for ulcerative colitis?

When it comes to ulcerative colitis, the goal of treatment is to put you in remission and keep you there. The experts at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, customize your treatment plan based on the severity of your symptoms and disease. 

A number of medications can help control ulcerative colitis, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications, such as aminosalicylates and steroids 
  • Immunomodulators (decrease immune-mediated response)
  • Biologics (given by infusion to decrease or eliminate inflammation)

Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, provides infusion therapy for IBD. In extreme cases, the doctors recommend surgery.

Once you receive a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis, it’s important to follow your doctor’s schedule for monitoring and treatment.

Call Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, for comprehensive ulcerative colitis care or schedule an appointment online today.