Ulcerative colitis - diagnosis and treatment

Ulcerative colitis: diagnosis

The clinical symptoms and the physical examination usually provide the doctor with the suspected diagnosis of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis causes signs of inflammation in the blood which, however, are non-specific and do not always correlate with the severity of the disease.

The most important investigation for a more detailed clarification is colonoscopy, in which a tissue sample is taken and examined in the laboratory and under the microscope. It is almost always possible to diagnose ulcerative colitis.

In addition, an ultrasound examination of the abdominal cavity and a stool examination are performed. This can also exclude other causes such as an infection and other organ changes.

Ulcerative colitis: therapy

So far, the disease ulcerative colitis can only be cured by surgery (OP). This operation means the complete removal of the colon (colectomy). However, this is reserved only for certain complications and severe courses of ulcerative colitis, in which the symptoms do not improve by the drug treatment.

The aim of the latter, on the one hand, is to extend the time between the episodes of illness and, on the other hand, to relieve the relapses. For this purpose, anti-inflammatory agents are used which, if possible, are used only at the site of action (for example, suppositories), but in more severe cases also have to be given through the bloodstream.

Important medicines are aminosalicylates in mild cases, otherwise cortisone preparations. If these do not help against ulcerative colitis, agents that slow down the immune system (immunosuppresives) are prescribed. The additional administration of antibiotics, frankincense extracts and so-called growth factors are still being tested.

Treat ulcerative colitis

To alleviate the relapses in ulcerative colitis also probiotics, so certain bacteria that improve the intestinal flora (Escherichia coli Nissle) are recommended. A promising alternative could be the "cocktail" of pig whipworm eggs taken regularly twice a month. From these, the parasites are supposed to hatch in the intestine, which die after a short time and are excreted. Behind this is the idea that this stimulates the immune system. The effectiveness is not proven.

The exact treatment plan of this ulcerative colitis therapy depends on the individual course, the severity of the disease, the age of the patient and whether an acute episode is present ("acute therapy") or should only be prevented ("maintenance therapy").

Ulcerative colitis: diet and bed rest

Important is the timely visit to the doctor, as soon as ulcerative colitis symptoms appear, since the early drug intervention can shorten the duration and intensity of the episode. During a burst of inflammation, it makes sense to observe bed rest and possibly also with food intake suspend. In severe cases of ulcerative colitis, hospitalization may be required and an infusion may be required. A special diet for ulcerative colitis patients is not necessary, even if a balanced, light whole foods diet makes sense.

If bleeding occurs frequently, it may be necessary to add iron, and prolonged use of cortisone will provide calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone damage. Psychological support and support groups make it easier for those affected to cope with the disease.

Ulcerative colitis: course and prognosis

If only the last intestinal sections are affected by ulcerative colitis, the prognosis is good. If the entire colon is affected, the life expectancy is limited. Even a severe first episode, a high age at onset of disease and complications worsen the prognosis in ulcerative colitis. In order to recognize early cancer precursors, regular control colonoscopies in ulcerative colitis are inevitable from the eighth year onwards.

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