Ulcerative Colitis

14:12 EST 13th December 2018 | BioPortfolio

Ulcerative colitis is a disease that affects around 120,000 people in the UK and causes inflammation of the large intestine - or colon. Symptoms vary in severity from pain and discomfort, through mucous in the stools to in the most severe cases blood in the stools. It is generally diagnosed by inspection of the colon by a hospital consultant - a colonoscopy.

The underlying cause of ulcerative colitis is still not known - though the disease is associated with dysfunction of the immune system. In the disease the body's own T-cells attack the lining of the bowel - and hence cause it to be inflamed. This bodies immune system then takes this inflammation to be a further sign of infection - increasing the immune response - in a vicious cycle. This situation is what people would term a flare-up.

Ulcerative colitis is treated using a variety of medications designed to either directly reduce the inflammation - such as steroids - or to reduce the immune response such a immunomodulators. Standard treatment for ulcerative colitis depends on extent of involvement and disease severity. The goal is to induce remission initially with medications, followed by the administration of maintenance medications to prevent a relapse of the disease. The concept of induction of remission and maintenance of remission is very important. The medications used to induce and maintain a remission somewhat overlap, but the treatments are different. Physicians first direct treatment to inducing a remission which involves relief of symptoms and mucosal healing of the lining of the colon and then longer term treatment to maintain the remission.The medications include; Asacol / Mesalazine / Colazine, Steroids, Azathioprine/immuno-modulators, Remicade and Laxatives.


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