Ulcerative Colitis Treatment Options

Ulcerative colitis is a condition that affects the colon and the rectum. Marked by ulcers and inflammation, the disease causes a number of symptoms, including anemia, fatigue, weight and appetite loss, rectal bleeding and joint pain. It may also lead to growth failure in children. The preferred method of treating the disease depends on how severe it is, but drug therapy or surgery may be involved.

Treat Ulcerative Colitis with Drug Therapy or Surgery

Use aminosalicylates to treat ulcerative colitis. These are medications that contain 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA), such as sulfasalazine, olsalazine and balsalazide. 5-ASA medications are typically taken by mouth or in the form of an enema or suppository, treating mild to moderate forms of the disease by helping to reduce inflammation.

Try corticosteroids like hydrocortisone and prednisone, which are typically used in cases that are moderate to severe. These work to reduce inflammation and are given orally or intravenously. In some cases, they may be given in the form of enemas or suppositories.

Take immunomodulators like azathioprine, which work to reduce inflammation in those who have not had success from other drug therapies. This type of medication may be taken orally, but it is generally slow to take effect and patients may not experience full relief of symptoms until as many as six months have passed.

Have an Ileostomy. For this surgery, a stoma, a tiny abdominal opening, is created, and the ileum, the end of the small intestine, is then attached to it. This allows waste to leave the body through the stoma and empty into a pouch, which the patient must empty.

Undergo an ileoanal anastomosis–a surgery that allows the patient to have bowel movements in the normal way. In this operation, the colon and the inside portion of the rectum is removed, but the outer muscles remain, allowing the surgeon to created a pouch by connecting the end of the small intestine to the inside of the rectum and remaining section of anus. Normal bowel movements are possible because waste is stored in the surgically created pouch, passing through the anus as normal.

Ulcerative colitis is a condition that affects the colon and the rectum. Marked by ulcers and inflammation