Home Uncategorized 7 Surprising Facts About Ulcerative Colitis You Must Know

7 Surprising Facts About Ulcerative Colitis You Must Know


Whether you are newly diagnosed, a seasoned veteran, or a caregiver to someone with ulcerative colitis, it is important to know the facts.


Knowing all you can about ulcerative colitis can help you better manage your symptoms.

If you have ulcerative colitis then you are familiar with the intense cramps, digestive pain, and urgency a flare can cause. What you may not be familiar with, however, are these 7 facts.
There are many types of colitis. Many people are surprised to learn that  there are several types of colitis, defined by the area or areas affected by the disease. With ulcerative proctitis, inflammation is limited to the rectum. Proctosigmoiditis affects the rectum and the sigmoid colon. In left-sided colitis, the inflammation goes from the rectum to a bend in the colon near the spleen. Pan-ulcerative colitis involves the entire colon.
Pregnancy is still possible after surgery. Surgery is sometimes necessary to remove the colon. If you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to note that your fertility rate after a colectomy with an ileostomy or a J pouch may be reduced. In that case, you might want to get pregnant and have your baby first if postponing surgery is an option. For pregnancy after surgery, waiting a year before conceiving will help you avoid post-surgery complications like an obstruction or drop of the ileostomy. For some, pregnancy brings additional benefits, such as a decrease in symptoms and flares.
Sleep needs to be part of your treatment plan. Many patients are surprised to learn just how important the right amount of sleep is to their disease management, says Ashkan Farhadi, MD, director of the Digestive Disease Center at MemorialCare Medical Group in Costa Mesa, Calif. Women with ulcerative colitis who get less than six or more than nine hours of sleep a day are at increased risk of ulcerative colitis flares, according to a study published in “Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology” in April 2014 . Dr. Farhadi advises patients to establish a good sleep pattern by going to bed and waking at the same times every day and to keep their bedrooms cool and dark to make them more conducive to sleep.
Ulcerative colitis may be in your genes. About 10 to 25 percent of people who have ulcerative colitis also have a brother, sister, or parent with ulcerative colitis or the other common type of inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s.  One group at higher risk of IBD is Jews of Ashkenazi or Eastern European descent. Researchers believe that genetics play a role but have yet to find a specific pattern of inheritance, says Neville Bamji, MD, of New York Gastroenterology Associates and a clinical instructor of medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. While there’s no way to stop ulcerative colitis from developing, having it on relatives’ radar can help them know to bring symptoms to their doctors’ attention sooner.
RELATED: 8 Foods to Avoid With Ulcerative Colitis
A poor diet won’t cause ulcerative colitis. One of the frustrating facts about ulcerative colitis is how little we know about its causes. Researchers believe a number of factors come together and lead your immune system to launch an attack on your intestines. While genetics and environmental triggers may aid in the development of ulcerative colitis, a poor diet won’t. Diet, like stress,  may exacerbate your symptoms, but it doesn’t cause ulcerative colitis.
Colitis can affect more than your colon. The effects of ulcerative colitis can expand beyond diarrhea, cramps, and abdominal pain. Joint pain, skin sores, redness in your eyes, kidney stones, and bone thinning can all be manifestations. In some people, some of these symptoms can foretell a flare, while in others they can be the very first signs of the disease. Five percent of people with ulcerative colitis also experience liver problems, including hepatitis and cirrhosis.
Ulcerative colitis is more common than you may think. Although it’s a disease whose symptoms can be embarrassing, if you have it, you’re far from being alone in facing it. Colitis affects approximately 700,000 Americans, with an additional 30,000 new cases of IBD being diagnosed each year. Ali Lambert Voron, 36, of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., has had ulcerative colitis for about 10 years. After her diagnosis, she was most surprised to learn how many people know someone else who has struggled with colitis. Voron, who also has alopecia, an autoimmune disease that caused her to lose her hair at 16, was overwhelmed by the stories people she met shared with her. You can find that kind of reinforcement by joining a colitis support group.


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