Ulcerative Colitis – Symptoms and Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
The other name of Ulcerative Colitis is Colitis ulcerosa (UC). UC is a disease resembling a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It can cause inflammation and sores in the lining of the colon and the rectum. These inflammatory sores are called ulcers.
When any inflammation kills the cells in an area, it causes ulcers or open sores in the lining of the colon. These areas start bleeding and producing pus. A major sign of inflammation is the tendency of emptying the colon frequently (diarrhoea) mixed with blood. The symptoms are often found diminishing on their own or may require treatment in a few cases.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
The symptoms of the ulcerative colitis depend on the extent and severity of the disease. A few common intestinal symptoms involve –
- diarrhea mixed with mucus and blood
- blood found on rectal examination
- abdominal pain
- mild to severe painful cramps
There are a few extra-intestinal symptoms also observed along with the above intestinal symptoms. Example –
- painful arthritic knees (in teenagers)
- inflammation of the eye
- osteoporosis and liver disease
The link between these signs with the disease is not yet found out. But these signs have been observed fading with treatment of UC. Other symptoms include –
- fatigue or weakness
- loss of appetite
- loss of body fluids and nutrients
- skin lesions
- signs of weight loss
- joint pain
- growth failure (specifically in children)
- frequent fever
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
There are many theories supporting the onset of the UC. The exact cause of the Ulcerative Colitis is still unknown. The following causes have been found linked with the signs of Ulcerative colitis. These are –
- Genetic factors
- Environmental factors
- Diet – Your diet may contain some substances that may encourage inflammation and you may have a low-fibre content diet which can also induce inflammation.
- Breastfeeding – Breastfeeding have been found to show a potential protective effect on the patient. But no scientific evidences are available for it.
- Autoimmune disease
Occurrence of Ulcerative Colitis
In the US, every 35–100 people are diagnosed with UC among every 100,000. It counts for less than 1% of the US population. But the disease is more prevalent in the northern areas. It can affect people of any age but is seen mostly in people between 15-35 years of age and less frequently in elderly people within 50-70 years of age. Both men and women are affected by the UC disease.