Ulcerative Colitis in Denver, CO
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What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an individual part of a much larger grouping of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The condition causes painful swelling and ulcerations within your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, usually the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis differs from Crohn's disease (the alternate form of IBD), as it is restricted to the colon. Crohn's disease, alternately, is almost always experienced at the end of the small bowel and at the beginning of the colon, but has been known to involve any part of the gastrointestinal system from the mouth to the anus. Additionally, ulcerative colitis impacts only the inner lining of the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease can impact the whole of the bowel wall.
Those who have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis commonly deal with painful gastrointestinal troubles which interfere with their everyday lives. At Colorado Gastroenterology, our board-certified GI doctors routinely identify and treat ulcerative colitis, and collaborate with people to assist in providing relief from its symptoms. To get help for ulcerative colitis in Denver, CO, we implore you to reach out to our office as soon as possible.
Are there multiple kinds of ulcerative colitis?
There exist several unique varieties of ulcerative colitis that are typically organized by location:
Ulcerative proctitis: The inflammation of an individual's colon is confined to the rectum and is commonly the least severe type of ulcerative colitis. A tell-tale sign of having ulcerative proctitis is bleeding from the rectum.
Left-sided colitis: Swelling is more widely found through more of the colon and may impact areas beyond the rectum, but is confined to all or part of the sigmoid and descending colon. It often causes troubling symptoms, some of which could include diarrhea containing blood and unintended loss of weight.
Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is also known as extensive colitis and might involve the entire colon. Symptoms can include extreme bloody diarrhea, serious abdominal pain, and fatigue.
Acute severe ulcerative colitis: This is a more unusual variety of ulcerative colitis that affects the complete colon. Its symptoms can include severe pain and the loss of the ability to eat. The condition often requires hospitalization and is known to have an increased risk of surgery.
To learn more about the types of multiple ulcerative colitis, contact our gastrointestinal specialists at Colorado Gastroenterology.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
The specific reason for the development of ulcerative colitis is still a mystery. However, there are certain factors that seem to increase the manifestation of ulcerative colitis and its symptoms.
- Genetics: One can inherit genes from their parents that elevate the chance of developing ulcerative colitis.
- Immune system: It is presumed that viruses or internal bacteria could initiate the occurrence of ulcerative colitis. In the event that a virus or bacteria enters the digestive tract, your body enlists your immune system to fight the bacteria or virus. When this happens, your body releases white blood cells to the colon and they then attack non-problematic tissue and cells. Consequentially your colon, or large intestine, becomes inflamed.
Risk factors for ulcerative colitis
A few of the complicating factors associated with suffering from ulcerative colitis may include:
- Age: Ulcerative colitis usually presents before 30 years of age.
- Race or ethnicity: People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and Caucasians appear to be at higher likelihood of suffering from ulcerative colitis (still the condition can affect anyone)
- Family history: If a relative suffers with ulcerative colitis, you may have a higher risk of suffering from the disease.
What are the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
The majority of symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis develop slowly, and they range from subtle to overwhelming. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis often include:
Pain in the abdomen
Bloody diarrhea with pus
Sudden weight loss
Sores in the mouth
Normal menstrual cycle disruption
Pain or drainage near or around the anus
In the case that you ever see blood in your stool, we urge you to make contact with your doctor or another specialist in Denver, CO at once. You should see a gastroenterologist should you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms or a combination of symptoms on a regular basis. The board-certified gastroenterologists at Colorado Gastroenterology are here to offer you skilled care for ulcerative colitis and can assist in the treatment and management of these concerns in our Denver, CO office.
How do you treat ulcerative colitis?
The ultimate objectives of ulcerative colitis treatments at Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO are to control the swelling that instigates your symptoms and thereby achieve remission of the condition. Ongoing treatment includes but is not limited to screening for cancer, as suffering from ulcerative colitis positions you at an elevated risk for developing colon cancer. The main divisions of ulcerative colitis treatments are listed below:
Antibiotics: Antibiotics have been shown to help destroy bacteria known to cause the abnormal immune system reflex that leads to inflammation. These are not a mainstay of therapy, but could be administered in coordination with other therapies.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Anti-inflammatory medicines utilized to treat ulcerative colitis are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Corticosteroids help decrease swelling in the body and may be administered along with immune system suppressants. Oral 5-aminosalicylates can also work to reduce inflammation in the body.
Additional supplements and medications could be suggested to help control and manage ulcerative colitis symptoms. These may include:
- Shots of vitamin B-12
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin D and calcium supplementation
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: This type of therapy addresses our body’s abnormal immune response to viruses and bacteria. The immunosuppressant meds your Denver, CO gastroenterologist might prescribe include:
Diet and nutrition: Your Denver, CO gastrointestinal doctor may suggest a unique food plan to help relieve symptoms and jump-start remission.
Surgery: In severe situations, surgical intervention might be needed to remove a portion of, or the entirety of, the rectum or colon.
Ulcerative Colitis FAQs
Is ulcerative colitis a curable condition?
At this time, no cure has been identified for ulcerative colitis. Medication can manage the condition and its related symptoms but will not cure it. Medication therapy may help you achieve and remain in remission from ulcerative colitis.
Is ulcerative colitis caused by diet?
A link between diet and the cause of ulcerative colitis has not been identified. However, certain diets have been associated with an increased risk of getting the condition. This includes foods low in fruits, veggies, and fiber and high in refined carbs, fats, and sugar.
Who diagnoses and treats ulcerative colitis?
Likely, your troubles will cause you to go to your primary doctor. If your physician suspects you may have ulcerative colitis, they will probably send you to a GI provider, like those at Colorado Gastroenterology. It is helpful to consult a team that specializes in GI health.
Will anything help the disease remain in remission?
When you reach remission for ulcerative colitis, you will most likely do anything you can to remain there. Factors to keep in mind while in remission include:
- Your stress level: Stress may cause your symptoms to return. Sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and learning how to manage your stress can help reduce the chance of symptom recurrence.
- Change in medication: If your current medications appear to cause ulcerative colitis symptoms, contact our gastroenterologist team. We may be able to change your medicine to something less likely to cause a flare-up.
- Medications: In the event you have pain or fever, you may consider taking acetaminophen (such as Tylenol®) as opposed to NSAIDs (like Motrin® or Advil®), as acetaminophen is less likely to ignite symptoms. Consult your physician for further information.
Find help for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis has the ability to impact your general comfort and your digestive health. With specialized treatment, however, one can manage the condition and better your quality of life. Whether you are in the midst of the initial symptoms or dealing with ulcerative colitis issues post-remission, the GI doctors at Colorado Gastroenterology can provide you with personalized care choices to help you find relief. To find an ulcerative colitis specialist in Denver, CO, please reach out to our office today.
I don’t like going to doctors but Dr. Rufner makes my appointment a breeze. He goes over my records and discusses everything with me in detail and then come up with a game plan to go by. I would recommend Dr. Rufner to anybody his bedside manner is out of this world.
Personable, Knowledgeable, Understanding, and informative.
I have had ulcerative colitis for about 20 years. I was diagnosed when I was in 4th grade. Over those two decades, I have had doctors who don’t take into account how I am doing. Just what my test results say. Dr. Rufner is not one of those doctors. Of course, he relies on test results, but he also values my own personal feelings a lot. He is also VERY up to date on the latest science and has some well-informed suggestions on how I can best manage my condition. I would absolutely recommend Dr. Rufner to anyone looking for help!
Stomach issues are no joke, and I wanted to start this review off by saying that I've gone through six or seven years straight with severe abdominal pain, nausea, sickness, missing school, missing work, doctor appointments, pills, and various diagnoses that have not helped me at all. It's hard to find someone that can help. Then I found Dr. Brenner. When I went into the office for the first time, I was extremely nervous and had little hope for help. The staff was very sweet. But when I met Dr. Brenner for the first time, I was expecting her to be like all of the others. I can officially say that I am now in remission after seven years thanks to her. She examined my previous medical reports without bias and listened to me with understanding. She had told me that there was no proof I had any of the diseases that these other "doctors" were diagnosing me with, that I didn't need to take all kinds of pills, and gave me advice and tips on how to help myself with home remedies with whatever I may be going through (severe abdominal pain for example). I'm now thankfully taking one pill that for sure helps me, but is not required, and I can eat all kinds of food now that I've never been able to eat. Dr. Brenner is sweet, honest, and very caring with her work. I plan to go to see her for as long as I can.
Dr. Brenner took the time to listen to my concerns and provide guidance to help me feel better. I’ve seen many doctors and Dr. Brenner helped me finally feel better and figure out what was causing my issues. Thank you Dr. Brenner!