Ulcerative Colitis in San Antonio, TX
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is part of a much larger group of conditions known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This condition causes painful inflammation and ulcerations within the intestinal tract, most often the colon. Ulcerative colitis differs from Crohn's disease (another form of IBD), as it is restricted only to the colon. Crohn's disease, conversely, is usually experienced near the end of the small intestine and beginning of the colon but has been known to affect any portion of the gastrointestinal system all the way from the anus to the mouth. In addition, ulcerative colitis only involves the inner lining of the colon, while Crohn’s disease may impact the entire bowel wall.
Patients who suffer from ulcerative colitis are commonly forced to bear painful GI symptoms that create problems in their daily lives. At San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates, our board-certified GI specialists routinely identify and provide treatment for ulcerative colitis, while establishing relationships with patients to help provide relief from its symptoms. To get help for ulcerative colitis in San Antonio, TX, we encourage you to reach out to one of our locations as soon as possible.
Are there different types of ulcerative colitis?
There are a few different types of ulcerative colitis that are often related to anatomy:
Ulcerative proctitis: The swelling of an individual's colon is limited to the rectum and is commonly the mildest type of ulcerative colitis. The most noticeable sign of ulcerative proctitis is bleeding from the rectum.
Left-sided colitis: Inflammation is more widely found throughout the colon and may impact more than the rectum but is limited to the sigmoid and descending colon. It commonly causes concerning symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea and unplanned weight loss.
Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and can involve the entire colon. Symptoms can include serious bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual type of ulcerative colitis that affects the entire colon. Its symptoms may include severe pain and the inability to eat. This condition often requires hospitalization and carries an increased likelihood of surgery.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis remains unknown; however, there are certain factors that increase the chance of the manifestation of ulcerative colitis and its symptoms.
- Genetics: You can inherit genes from your parents that elevate your risk of being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is believed that viruses or internal bacteria can trigger the occurrence of ulcerative colitis. When bacteria or a virus enters your digestive tract, the body calls upon your immune system to fight the foreign invader. When this occurs, your body directs white blood cells to the colon where they then attack healthy tissue and cells. As a result, your colon or large intestine becomes inflamed.
What are the risk factors for ulcerative colitis?
A few of the risk factors related to ulcerative colitis include:
- Family history: If a family member has ulcerative colitis, you have a higher chance of suffering from this disease.
- Ethnicity or race: Caucasians and people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent appear to be at higher chance of developing ulcerative colitis, but it may impact any ethnicity.
- Age: Ulcerative colitis most often develops before the age of 30.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
The common symptoms experienced with ulcerative colitis grow over time and can vary from mild to severe. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
- Stomach cramps
- Bloody diarrhea with pus
- Drainage or pain near or around the anus
- Rectal pain
- Sudden weight loss
- Pain in the abdomen
- Blood in the stool
- Sores in the mouth
If you notice blood in your stool, we urge you to contact your physician or another GI specialist in San Antonio, TX immediately. You should see a gastroenterologist anytime you experience any of the above symptoms or a combination of symptoms on a consistent basis. The board-certified GI specialists at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates are here to offer you experienced treatment for ulcerative colitis and can assist in the management of these concerns.
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
The primary goal of ulcerative colitis treatments at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates is to control the swelling that triggers the symptoms and then achieve remission of the condition. Additional treatment includes, but is not limited to, screening for cancer because having ulcerative colitis puts you at higher risk for a diagnosis of colon cancer. The main categories of ulcerative colitis treatments are as follows:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may assist in destroying the bacteria associated with causing the abnormal immune system response that leads to swelling. This is not a mainstay of treatment but might be used in collaboration with other treatments.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory drugs utilized to treat ulcerative colitis are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids assist in the reduction of inflammation in your body and may be given along with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates are also useful for reducing inflammation in the body.
Additional supplements and medications may be suggested to help manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. These might include:
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
- Shots of vitamin B-12
- Iron supplements
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: This type of therapy addresses the body’s irregular immune response to viruses and bacteria. The immunosuppressant drugs your San Antonio, TX gastroenterologist could prescribe include:
Diet and Nutrition: Your GI provider may suggest a unique food plan to help relieve symptoms and assist with achieving remission.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be needed to take out a portion of, or the entirety of, the rectum or colon.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
How can ulcerative colitis go away?
Currently, no cure has been identified for this disease. Medication can help manage ulcerative colitis and any symptoms, but it will not cure your condition. It may be able to help you achieve and remain in remission.
Is ulcerative colitis caused by my diet?
A connection between food and a definite cause of this condition has not been identified. There are certain diet choices have been linked to a higher risk of getting the condition. This includes foods that are high in sugar, fats, and refined carbs and foods low in fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
Who is able to diagnose and treat ulcerative colitis?
It’s likely that your symptoms will result in a visit to your primary doctor. However, if your PCP suspects ulcerative colitis, they will likely refer you to a gastrointestinal specialist, like the ones at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates. It is important to visit a provider that is an expert in the GI tract.
Will anything help me reach and stay in remission from ulcerative colitis?
When you’ve reached remission for ulcerative colitis, you will likely want to do anything to remain in remission. Some things to note while you’re in remission include:
- Your stress level: Your stress can lead to your symptoms coming back. A good night's sleep, regular exercise, and working on stress management could reduce your chances of a flare-up.
- Medications: For fever or pain, you can need to use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) as opposed to an NSAID like Motrin® or Advil® since acetaminophen shouldn’t exacerbate your symptoms. Speak with your GI provider for more information.
- Change in medication: If you notice your current meds are resulting in ulcerative colitis symptoms, get in touch with our team. We could likely make a change in your medication for a medication less likely to cause a flare-up.
Find help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis can affect your general enjoyment of life and digestive well-being. With experienced care, however, you can control the condition and improve your quality of life. Whether you are suffering from the very first symptoms of ulcerative colitis or managing flare-ups post-remission, the GI specialists at San Antonio Gastroenterology Associates can provide you with personalized care options to help you find relief. To locate a provider who offers care for ulcerative colitis in San Antonio, TX, reach out to our office today.
A very relaxed experience, with the best customer service (team members) and by the Doctor Flores, very friendly and professional at the same time.
Endoscope and colonoscopy went very well. Staff was very helpful.
(Translated by Google) In September 2021 I went for a routine procedure, a colonoscopy, several benign polyps were removed, and I was lucky to have wonderful care from Doctor Guerra, who made me feel safe, and gave me assertive advice; “inform my brothers that polyps are hereditary”. My older brother followed his advice and saved his life, because he was operated on time, because his polyps were already malignant, he had no symptoms... I greatly appreciate and value your excellent and human attention. Thank you Dr. Guerra (Original) En Septiembre del 2021 acudí a un procedimiento de rutina, una colonoscopia, me extirparon varios pólipos benignos, y tuve la suerte de tener una magnifica atención del Doctor Guerra, quien me hizo sentir segura, y me dió un asertivo consejo; “informar a mis hermanos que los pólipos son hereditarios”. Mi hermano mayor siguió su consejo y salvó su vida, pues fue operado a tiempo, pues sus pólipos ya eran malignos, el no tenia síntomas… Agradesco y valoro mucho su excelente y humana atención. Gracias Dr. Guerra
Everyone was professional and knew what they were doing. An excellent experience.
(Translated by Google) very good doctor (Original) Muy buen Doctor