Ulcerative Colitis (Chronic Inflammation of the Colon)

Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic intestinal inflammation that can occur in spurts. It usually begins in the rectum and spreads out over the course of the entire colon. Typical symptoms are purulent and mucoid diarrhea, which are sometimes accompanied by blood. In addition to showing strong abdominal pain and weight loss. Ulcerative colitis should be examined by a doctor and treated, to rule out further complications.

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the large intestine (colon). This results in sores (ulcers) in the intestinal mucosa, which may drag on through the rectum up to the transition of the colon to the small intestine (ileocecal valve). At this point, the ileocecal valve, ends the infestation of the bowel, because in ulcerative colitis only the colon is affected. This is in contrast to other chronic inflammatory bowel disease, the Crohn's disease, where both the small and large intestine is affected.

Crohn's disease can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract, resulting in the delineation results for ulcerative colitis. Relapses occur in ulcerative colitis over and over again and are affected by many factors (stress, poor diet). Even if the disease of men and women are affected about equally, there are incidences of disease in children at a younger age too. Even small children and older people are affected by them. Having Ulcerative colitis for a many years, also increases the chances of having colon cancer.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

The causes of ulcerative colitis are still unknown. It is suspected that it is a genetic disease.

An autoimmune reaction of the intestinal mucosa to certain substances plays a major role. This exaggerated response of the mucosa is then expressed in the ulcers that are typical for ulcerative colitis.

There were also found evidence that different genetic changes favoring the occurrence of the disease. There is a specific molecular biological protein, called NF-kappa B transcription factor, is suspected to be permanently active, which triggers ulcerative colitis.

The disease is diagnosed only once a lifetime. Poor hygiene or other environmental conditions make the illness, and can contribute to a permanent flare.

Among the factors include the nutrition and living conditions, such as stress, anxiety and mental stress.


  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Flatulence
  • Stomach ache
  • Blood in the stool
  • General weakness
  • Fatigue


The disease course of ulcerative colitis may be characterized by frequent relapses and remission (recovery). Relapses are divided into acute, severe (fulminant) or chronic. Although an improvement in the latter occurs, but it is not really a symptom-free period (remission). This chronic course usually occurs when the intestine is no longer capable enough to respond to therapy, and a higher dosage of medication is not possible due to intolerance. This complicates much, the disease course of ulcerative colitis.

There are different degrees of severity of the progressive forms. It is the mild form, in which only the mucous membrane is swollen. The median progression is marked by ulcerations (sores) and bleeding, and they are not strong. For difficult cases, the inflamed intestinal mucosa in spread greater. It can lead to formation of so-called pseudo polyps and abscesses can occur. The most severe acute form is the megacolon (toxic colon extension) that can be dangerous because of peritonitis, and threatens intestinal breakdown.

Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

The treatment of ulcerative colitis can be done medically and surgically. In addition to mesalazine and sulfasalazine, cortisone is used. To support intestinal flora, supportive probiotics are given.

Another possibility is the use of immunosuppressants, TNF-alpha blockers and biologics, as newer forms of therapy. In particular cases, severe bouts can antibiotics may be helpful. In severe cases, a surgical removal of the colon to bring permanent relief.


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