Ulcerative Colitis: Cure and Treatment
Initial symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools, and abdominal pain.
This article will explain the different treatments for ulcerative colitis. It will also discuss current research toward finding a cure.
UC is not currently curable, but there are treatments to help manage symptoms.
The goals of treatment, according to the National Health Service (NHS), includes reducing symptoms and maintaining remission.
UC typically follows a pattern of relapse and remission. Most people with the condition experience remission within the first 10 years after diagnosis. Your doctor will work to maintain remission for as long as possible.
Doctors typically use a combination of medications and dietary recommendations to treat UC.
The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of symptoms and the frequency of flare-ups.
Here is an overview of the treatment options.
Diet and nutrition
Dietary adjustments are often necessary to help manage the symptoms of UC.
Because of these issues, your doctor may recommend eating a healthy, balanced diet. They may also ask you to reduce your dairy intake.
Other dietary changes your doctor may recommend for UC include:
- sticking to soft, bland foods
- avoiding spicy and high fiber foods
- drinking plenty of water
Learn more about managing the symptoms of UC.
Medications can help reduce inflammation in the colon and speed up the healing process. They may also help decrease the frequency of flare-ups and extend periods of remission.
The NHS lists some common medications doctors prescribe for UC:
- Aminosalicylates or 5-ASAs: These boost tissue healing.
- Corticosteroids such as prednisolone: These help reduce inflammation.
- Immunosuppressants such as tacrolimus and azathioprine: These help reduce atypical immune reactions.
- Ciclosporin: This suppresses immune activity.
- Biologic medications: These help reduce inflammation.
Doctors often administer these medications via injection or infusion.
If UC is too severe for conventional treatments, a doctor may consider a colectomy.
A colectomy is a surgery to remove the colon. Doctors can perform this procedure in two ways:
- Ileostomy: A doctor will remove the entire colon and create an opening in the abdomen for waste to pass.
- Ileoanal pouch: A doctor will create an internal pouch with the small intestine and attach it to the anus. This method allows a person to pass waste normally.
Colectomy is an effective management method for ulcerative colitis. However, there are many risks involved, including infection.
A doctor will discuss the possible side effects with you before performing the procedure.
Learn more about treatment options for UC.
Tofacitinib is a new prescription drug for UC. It works by suppressing atypical immune activity.
Tofacitinib is available in three forms:
- extended-release or long-acting tablet
- oral liquid solution
Tofacitinib can be effective for some cases of ulcerative colitis. However, it may decrease your body’s ability to fight infection. It may also cause allergic reactions in some people.
Your doctor will typically only consider this medication if other treatments are not effective.
According to researchers, symptoms of UC often mimic those of other conditions. This may occasionally lead to a misdiagnosis.
Also, some people with UC are not aware they have the condition until their symptoms worsen. This can reduce the chance of receiving successful treatment.
Contact your doctor promptly if you have concerns about symptoms of UC.
Left untreated, UC may lead to complications.
Complications of UC include:
- severe rectal bleeding
- perforation of the large intestine
- toxic megacolon, where inflammation advances into the deep tissue layers of the large intestine
- growth and development problems in children
- cancer of the rectum and colon
Seek early treatment to lower your risk of these complications.
Here are some frequently asked questions about UC.
How close are we to curing UC?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is not currently curable, and researchers are still working on developing a cure. However, new treatments regularly become available, such as tofacitinib, a type of JAK inhibitor.
Can UC go away on its own?
UC does not typically heal on its own. However, treatment can provide periods of remission.
How do I get rid of UC permanently?
Surgery may be a permanent solution for treating ulcerative colitis. It involves the complete removal of the colon using a colectomy.
However, there are less severe treatment options available that can ease the symptoms of UC. Your doctor may not recommend surgery for all cases. There are many risks involved, including infection. Talk with your doctor about which treatment is best for you.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is inflammation of the lining of the rectum and colon. Symptoms include diarrhea, bloody stools, and abdominal pain.
There is currently no cure for the condition. However, treatments are available to help manage symptoms. They include immunosuppressants, corticosteroids, and biologic medications.
Left untreated, UC can lead to complications. They include severe rectal bleeding and perforation of the large intestine.
Seek early treatment if you are concerned about symptoms of UC.