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Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease in which the lining of your large intestine (colon) becomes inflamed. This inflammation leads to the formation of raw sores or ulcers causing pain and bloody diarrhea. UC can begin at any age but most people who get it are in their early twenties. For most UC comes and goes for the rest of their lives. Most people can control attacks by taking medicine and adjusting their diet. But in about one-quarter of people with UC surgery becomes necessary.
Signs and Symptoms
UC usually begins gradually with bloody diarrhea rectal bleeding cramping or pain in the belly and growing urgency to move your bowels. Depending on which area of the colon is affected the stool may be normal or hard and dry. Other symptoms might be fever fatigue weight loss loss of appetite anemia from loss of blood pus in stools malnutrition and slow growth in children. UC can also affect parts of the body outside the colon causing skin sores mouth sores joint pain and inflammation of the eyes liver kidneys or gallbladder.
What Causes It?
Nobody knows what causes UC. It might start with an infection. Ten to 20 percent of people with UC have at least one family member with an intestinal disorder called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your health care provider will take stool and blood samples and will look inside your rectum through a flexible tube called an endoscope. You may also have an X ray with or without barium (a chalky liquid that makes organs and structures easier to see on an X-ray image).
Your health care provider will prescribe drugs to control inflammation and prevent complications. You will probably take more than one drug at a time. Some drugs can stop an episode but none can prevent a relapse. For severe cases that are unresponsive to medications surgery is recommended.
Over the Counter
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Inflammatory bowel disease which may be associated with UC is associated with low levels of many vitamins and nutrients. Ask you provider about taking supplements.
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules powders teas) glycerites (glycerine extracts) or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.
Some of the most common remedies for this condition are listed below.
Castor oil pack. Apply oil directly to skin cover with a clean soft cloth and plastic wrap. Cover with a heat source and let sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
Acupuncture can help relieve spasm and normalize digestive function.
People who have UC for a long time are more likely to get colon cancer than other people and must be checked for it regularly.
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