La maladie de Crohn
Ulcerative colitis is more localized in nature than Crohn’s disease. Typically, the disease affects the colon (large bowel) including the rectum and anus, and only invades the inner lining of bowel tissue. It almost always starts at the rectum, extending upwards in a continuous manner through the colon. Colitis can be controlled with medication and in severe cases can even be “cured” by surgical removal of the entire large intestine.
What are the Symptoms?
People suffering with ulcerative colitis experience severe and bloody diarrhea, false urges to have a bowel movement, abdominal pain and cramping, nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, mild fever, anemia and loss of body fluids.
Colitis is a chronic (lifelong) disease. Like Crohn’s disease, people with colitis have acute periods of active symptoms, and other times when their symptoms are absent (remission). Unlike Crohn’s, there is usually not any pain during remission. During flare-ups, the pain is usually not constant but does seem to arise coincidentally with the urge to have a bowel movement. Often the pain is experienced more as a cramping sensation than as lancing pain.
One of the hallmark symptoms of colitis are the “false urges” that arise frequently during the day. People with false urges experience an extremely urgent need to have a bowel movement, and yet, when they try to expel feces, discover that they only have a small amount to pass. This sense of urgency is due to inflammation of the rectum.
Can Colitis be Cured?
Yes and no. Because we do not know the cause of colitis yet, we also do not know the cure. However, if severe symptoms persist in spite of medication and other therapies, a surgeon may resect (remove) the colon. By doing so, the patient is “cured” of colitis and the disease will not return anywhere else in the GI tract. In effect, a “cure” has been achieved.
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Need more Information?
Your local chapter of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is a powerhouse of health information. Through education, presentation and discussion, people can find resources to help them cope with their colitis, and meet others who are living with Crohn’s or colitis. Please go to In Your Community to look up the chapter closest to you. It’s in your best interest to get involved and get informed!