Ulcerative colitis is irritation (inflammation) of the inner lining of the large intestine also known as Colon (portion of the intestine where water is reabsorbed and waste materials for excretion) are stored temporarily .It also involves the lining of the rectum
The inflammation of the inner lining of the colon results in ulceration, swelling which can give rise to painful bowel movements, bloody diarrhea (bloody stools) and rectal bleeding .
In medical term this disease is grouped under “Inflammatory bowel Disease “
Ulcerative colitis has an incidence of 1 to 20 cases per 100,000 individuals per year, and a prevalence of 8 to 246 per 100,000 individuals.
It is found worldwide, but is most common in the United States, England, and northern Europe. It is especially common in people of Jewish descent. Ulcerative colitis is rarely seen in Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America, and is rare in the black population. For unknown reasons, an increased frequency of this condition has been observed recently in developing nations. it may also indicate that an industrial or Western diet and lifestyle increases the prevalence of this disease
Ulcerative colitis is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free.
In patients with ulcerative colitis, however, the immune system is abnormally and chronically activated in the absence of any known invader. The continued abnormal activation of the immune system causes chronic inflammation and ulceration.
In short it is an autoimmune condition where the body immunity cells are fighting against the own body tissues –causing damage to the lining of the colon and rectum and alternating its function producing abnormal symptoms like bloody diarrhea and painful defecation.
It causing a general distress in the patient where day to day activities of the individual gets affected.
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis begins most commonly during adolescence and early adulthood, but they also can begin during childhood and later in life.
- Diet: High intake of unsaturated fat and vitamin B6 may enhance the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Patients with Milk allergy
- Diet containing high amount of sulphur.
- Attacks have been precipitated by high protein meat and alcohol.
Recent studies have shown people with high degree of emotional upsets, stressful events in life like death, divorce have known to precipate the disease.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Due to its autoimmune nature –the symptoms are not only restricted to colon and rectum –but we find due to the invasion of immunity cells in other parts of the body –symptoms are expressed there also along with main symptoms .
Patients usually present with diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus, of gradual onset that persists for an extended period (weeks).
- Mild to serve painful bowel movements
- Crampy pain in the abdomen while passing stools.
- Due to blood loss recurrent –Anemia-pale of nails, palms and eye conjunctiva.Wt loss
- Extraintestinal Features
- Patients with ulcerative colitis can occasionally have aphthous ulcers involving the tongue, lips, palate and pharynx.
- Involvement of eyes: redness of eyes
- Joints: inflammations of joints called arthritis especially spine –pain and swelling of the joints
- Clubbing: deformity at the end of the fingers
- Inflammations of the veins –swelling of the veins –leading to thrombosis
- Skin: redness and nodosites