Certain dietary restrictions can help control flare-ups in people with ulcerative colitis, although treatment with medications is also required. For example, some people find that milk triggers their symptoms, so they exclude it from their diet. During a flare-up, avoiding bran, fruit, and raw vegetables can help manage symptoms, because these foods may worsen diarrhea.
Aminosalicylates are anti-inflammatory medications. Examples include mesalamine (5-ASA or 5 aminosalicylic acid), olsalazine, and sulfasalazine.* Aminosalicylates often control symptoms completely. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, heartburn, headaches, orange-coloured urine, and gastrointestinal bleeding (in rare cases).
Corticosteroids work to reduce inflammation, especially when there is a flare-up of ulcerative colitis. They can be used as suppositories or enemas, but are often taken in pill form. Examples of corticosteroids include budesonide, hydrocortisone, and prednisone. The side effects of steroid medication include weight gain, acne, high blood pressure, increased risk of infections, increased risk of abnormally high blood sugar levels (diabetes mellitus). Osteoporosis and other health complications can occur with long-term steroid treatment.
Immune-suppressing medications, such as azathioprine or methotrexate, help suppress the immune system so that the body stops attacking its own tissues. These may be tried if the medications listed above do not control symptoms.
Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) blockers (or biologics), such as infliximab, are given as injections to people with moderate-to-severe symptoms when other treatments are not effective.
About one-third of people with ulcerative colitis eventually need surgery because of bleeding, or to prevent colorectal cancer. Surgery is the only permanent cure for ulcerative colitis, and people who have their colon removed can still lead normal lives with proper diet and treatment.
Normally, contents flow from the stomach through the small intestine to the large intestine (colon) and finally to the rectum, where it passes from the body. Until recently, surgery involved removing the colon and rectum and creating a small opening in the side of the abdomen around the belt line. The surgeon connected the free end of the small intestine (the part called the ileum) to the opening, and a pouch was worn over the hole to collect waste and be emptied as needed (usually 3 or 4 times a day).
A newer procedure called an ileoanal anastomosis allows people to have more normal bowel movements after their surgery. The surgeon removes the colon but leaves the outer muscles of the rectum intact, attaching the ileum to the inside of the rectum and the anus. This creates an internal pouch of intestinal tissue. The pouch can occasionally become inflamed (pouchitis), but this can be treated with antibiotics.
*All medications have both common (generic) and brand names. The brand name is what a specific manufacturer calls the product (e.g., Tylenol®). The common name is the medical name for the medication (e.g., acetaminophen). A medication may have many brand names, but only one common name. This article lists medications by their common names. For information on a given medication, check our Drug Information database. For more information on brand names, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2017. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/condition/getcondition/Ulcerative-Colitis