To create an effective Ulcerative Colitis treatment plan, the patient is firstly to be diagnosed correctly, and then treated on an individual basis. This is a chronic condition that features a range of symptoms that are not experienced by every patient or at all times.
If the symptoms are mild and not particularly troubling, a good, healthy and balanced diet can be the only necessary course of action. However, during flare-ups, a more decisive plan is called for.
Managing the symptoms
At the most fundamental level, Ulcerative Colitis treatment involves simple management of the symptoms. This could include taking laxatives to alleviate constipation or anti-diarrhea drugs for the opposite. Iron is often needed by UC patients so supplements are prescribed and can be taken via IV.
From Aspirin to Surgery
Pain relievers such as aspirin are commonplace in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis to control pain and help patients to go about their lives. Stress relievers and antidepressants, while not treating the actual disease, go a long way to helping patients manage their lives and enjoy less flare-ups of the condition.
Unfortunately, no drugs can cure UC but they can provide relief by reducing intestinal inflammation. Drugs are usually a successful Ulcerative Colitis treatment in around 80% of patients and can be used to alleviate particular symptoms.
Corticosteroids help to reduce inflammation in the intestine but should only be used sporadically, not on an ongoing basis. These may be taken orally or, where the patient is not responding, via intravenous administration.
Immunosuppressants can be a helpful Ulcerative Colitis treatment to help maintain a patients remission status.
Useful in all phases of the disease, from mild to severe and during active flare-ups or while in remission, aminosalicylates can be taken orally or inserted rectally in suppository form. Aminosalicylates are considered the best Ulcerative Colitis treatment and at the very least, provide a starting point from which to approach treatment.
Another product that can be useful in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis is a Biologic Response Modifier. Not really a drug per se, BMRs are created from living organisms and they stimulate the patients immune system and impede the proteins that are responsible for the intestinal inflammation.
Unfortunately for some patients, their Ulcerative Colitis treatments will be inadequate to alleviate their symptoms. Twenty per cent of patients will not respond sufficiently to drug therapy and as a result, it will become necessary to surgically remove diseased parts of the colon. Surgery is also indicated if the patient suffers hemorrhage, perforation of the colon, experiences ongoing illness, or if the risk of developing colon cancer is significant. For most surgical patients, an enhanced quality of life is the result.
Proctocolectomy is the name given to the removal of the patients entire colon. The lower section of the rectum as well as the sphincter muscles will be removed during the proctocolectomy. This surgery is often considered a last resort but it is the only known cure for Ulcerative Colitis.
There are less complete surgical procedures, namely ileostomy and ileonal anastomosis. The former refers to the creation of an aperture in the patients abdominal wall to allow waste material to be passed into a bag that collects this waste and must be emptied several times daily.
The latter involves the use of a natural internal Ã¢â‚¬Ëœpouch just above the anus, for the collection of waste and eliminates the need for the ileostomy bag. It allows the patient to experience more normal bowel movements.
Alternative approaches to Ulcerative Colitis treatment involve acupuncture, castor oil packs and applying heat pads to painful areas.