Almost 7 million people have an inflammatory bowel disease, like ulcerative colitis, worldwide, and it’s growing more common. If you’re living with ulcerative colitis, the compassionate GastroCare LI providers, including Bradley Rieders, MD, and Brandon Rieders, MD, offer support and expert care at their Valley Stream, New York, office. Click on the online scheduling link or call the office to book your appointment today.

request an appointment

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is one of the two most common inflammatory bowel diseases. It causes inflammation and sores within the inner lining of the large intestine.

Your large intestine has four parts: the cecum (first part), colon (longest part), rectum (ending part), and anus (opening at the end). There are four types of ulcerative colitis, categorized by the area it occurs.

  • Ulcerative proctitis: occurs in the rectum
  • Proctosigmoiditis: occurs in the lower colon and rectum
  • Left-sided colitis: occurs in the colon and rectum on the left side of the body
  • Pancolitis: affects the whole large intestine

Ulcerative colitis can spread, so one type can turn into another over time. Combined, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease affect about 3 million Americans today.

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Some of the most common ulcerative colitis symptoms include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent urges to pass stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Blood in stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Symptoms range from mild to severe, and your symptoms can vary with the type of ulcerative colitis. For example, ulcerative proctitis may not cause obvious symptoms other than rectal bleeding, while pancolitis can cause severe bloody diarrhea and dramatic weight loss.

Ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms that make it difficult to go about your daily routine, particularly if the disease progresses. Fortunately, GastroCare LI offers both diagnosis and effective treatment in the office.

How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed?

You typically need blood and stool sample tests to check for inflammation markers, anemia, and infections. To definitively diagnose ulcerative colitis, you need an endoscopy procedure.

The most common diagnostic endoscopy procedure is colonoscopy (the test used for colon cancer screening), which examines your entire large intestine. Flexible sigmoidoscopy, which examines the lower part of the intestine, is another option.

During your colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy, your GastroCare LI provider takes a small tissue sample, which they examine in the lab to determine whether you have ulcerative colitis.

How is ulcerative colitis treated?

Treatment aims to decrease inflammation in your large intestine, which eases your symptoms. Many medications can help, including anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressants, and antibiotics. You may also need specific medications for complications, for example, iron supplements for anemia.

Some people with ulcerative colitis need surgery if their disease doesn’t improve with medication. Surgery can completely remove the part of your large intestine causing the problems, so it can be a cure for ulcerative colitis.

GastroCare LI can help you find the best treatment for your ulcerative colitis. Call the office or use the online scheduler to arrange your appointment today.