Written by Andrew Sarski on February 8, 2011
Symptoms and Types of Ulcerative Colitis
Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include fatigue, anemia, diarrhea, weight loss, rectal bleeding, skin lesions, joint pain, loss of appetite and loss of nutrients. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by ulcers which form where inflammation has killed the cells that normally line the colon; typically the ulcers continue to bleed and form pus. Victims with severe cases of ulcerative colitis may experience arthritis, bloody diarrhea, fever, nausea, abdominal cramps, liver disease, inflammation of the eye and osteoporosis.
Because these symptoms are so similar to other inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease, diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is sometimes difficult. However, while Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, ulcerative colitis is typically restricted to the colon. There are different forms of ulcerative colitis, named for the area in which the inflammation occurs. The disease is called ulcerative proctitis if the inflammation occurs in the lower part of the intestines and the rectum. If it occurs in the entire colon it is called pancolitis. If only the left side of the colon is affected, the disease is called limited or distal colitis. Finally, if the disease affects the rectum and sigmoid colon, it is called proctosigmoiditis.
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
Treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on the individual as well as the severity of the disease. Most treatment methods attempt to relieve the symptoms associated with the condition and induce remission, typically using medication or surgery. The only surgical procedure available for ulcerative colitis is colectomy, or the total removal of the colon; this option is usually reserved for victims who have suffered with the disease for years or for emergency situations including the existence of a hole in the colon or precancerous lesions. While this procedure may cure the disease, the surgery can be significantly life-altering as the individual must use an alternative form of waste removal in the future.
Legal Help for Ulcerative Colitis
Individuals with ulcerative colitis can experience a number of significant complications associated with the disease, many of which are life-threatening. The symptoms of the disease and even the available treatment methods can seriously affect a victim’s quality of life. Because of the severity and longevity of the disease, 10-40% of individuals with ulcerative colitis require surgery to remove the colon. Recent studies have indicated that the use of certain prescription acne medications can quadruple a person’s risk of developing ulcerative colitis. If you or a loved one has been the victim of an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and pharmaceutical medications are believed to be the cause, contact a defective drug attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and an experienced defective drug lawyer can effectively represent your case.