Are You Suffering From Ulcerative Colitis?

ulcerative colitis
Source – www.self.com

Many individuals experience stomach pains and diarrhea. However, if you’re experiencing these symptoms often and they’re severe (excessive cramping, bloody diarrhea), you should visit a doctor. You may have ulcerative colitis.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 25th Feb 2022.

Are You Suffering From Ulcerative Colitis?

This condition affects the large intestine, often known as the colon. Although there is no known cause or cure, the sooner you are identified, the sooner you start treating the symptoms.

But first, you must be tested.

Doctors may do various tests to determine whether you have ulcerative colitis. It may take many of them to rule out other issues.

What to Expect

Your doctor will want to know everything about your health. Any information you have regarding ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or other autoimmune disorders in your parents, siblings, or children may be helpful to bring to your visit. Use a complete list of any medications you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medications, as well as any supplements or complementary treatments.

A physical exam will be performed by your doctor, who will most likely check your blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature. They may use a stethoscope to listen to noises in your abdomen and push on your tummy to check for discomfort. A digital rectal exam may be performed to look for blood in your faeces.

Medical staff will draw blood and stool samples to look for indications of UC or other diseases. Your doctor will use a device to examine your large intestine. An endoscopy is a medical term for this procedure. Below, we’ll go through the two most common types: colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy.

Blood and Stool Tests

Anaemia, a sign of ulcerative colitis, may be detected via a blood test. Anaemia occurs when the number of red blood cells in your body decreases to the point where there aren’t enough to transport enough oxygen to your tissues. A blood test may also be used to rule out or detect other illnesses.

An increase in white blood cells, a low amount of the protein albumin, and an increased C-reactive protein level may all be detected by a blood test, all of which are signs of inflammation in your body.

When you see the doctor, a sample of your blood will be taken and sent out for analysis. The findings may take a few days to several weeks to arrive.

To rule out infection, a stool test may be performed. To learn more about stool testing, go here.

Sigmoidoscopy

To determine whether you have ulcerative colitis, you may require a sigmoidoscopy. This standard treatment takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Using a sigmoidoscope, your doctor will examine your rectal lining and lower large intestine or colon.

A sigmoidoscope is a long, flexible tube with approximately half an inch diameter. On the end of it are a light and a tiny camera. It’s inserted into your rectum so your doctor may examine portions of your large intestine. While they are doing it, you may be given medication to help you relax.

Your doctor will be able to examine your intestinal tissue right away, identify inflammation and bleeding, and determine whether you have ulcerative colitis or another condition.

The night before the test, you’ll usually be advised to take a liquid laxative to empty your bowels so the doctor can view your colon lining.

You should be able to go as soon as it’s over. You’ll need someone to drive you home if you take medication to relax. Learn more about what to anticipate during a sigmoidoscopy procedure.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy is another method to diagnose ulcerative colitis.

This is also an outpatient treatment, so after it’s over, you may go home. It typically takes 30 minutes to an hour to complete. To clear out your intestines, you’ll need to take a liquid laxative the night before. This is because a successful test requires a clean, large intestine. The day before, your doctor will advise you on how to prepare.

Your doctor will examine your whole colon with a flexible tube called a colonoscopy. They may also perform a biopsy or collect a tissue sample if necessary. This test may assist identify the severity of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, as well as the difference between the two.

A long, thin colonoscope is introduced into your rectum and pushed up into your large intestine throughout the procedure. You may be prescribed a sedative to help you unwind. If you do, you’ll need someone to drive you home after the work is completed. Learn more about the fundamentals of a colonoscopy.

X-Ray and CT Scan

Your doctor may conduct an X-ray to ensure you don’t have a more severe issue, such as a perforated colon.

You may also need a CT scan. It aids in the detection of ulcerative colitis complications as well as the ruling out of other similar diseases.

You’ll prepare for the CT scan the night before, just like you would for the other exams. Your doctor will give you instructions once again. They typically include consuming only clear beverages after midnight and fasting for four hours before the test.

Before the test, you may be required to consume a contrast solution or have it injected into a vein. The CT scan may take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, and you should get your findings within 24 hours.

Other imaging tests that your doctor may perform to help you figure out what’s wrong are:

  • Before the CT enterography, your doctor will ask you to consume a specific contrast substance or have it delivered by enema. With X-ray pictures, the material helps them view your gut better. As they capture images, medical professionals will most likely inject various contrast materials into a vein in your arm.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a kind of imaging that utilises powerful magnets to create images of the interior of your body. There may be items you shouldn’t eat for a day or two in certain instances, but the office should let you know ahead of time. Each bodily component takes around 45 minutes to complete. They may inject you with a particular dye at times. Because this machine utilises powerful magnets, the technician may need to adjust the procedure if you have a pacemaker, tattoos, heart valves, metal screws for fracture repair, or if you’re pregnant or have specific health issues.

Find out more about imaging testing for gastrointestinal disorders.

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/ulcerative-colitis/do-i-have-ulcerative-colitis 
  2. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America: “What is Ulcerative Colitis?” and “Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis."
  3. CDC: “Diagnosis and Testing for Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis).”
  4. Cleveland Clinic: “Diagnostics and Testing.”
  5. Merck Manual Professional Version: “Ulcerative Colitis.”
  6. Merck Manual Consumer Version: “Ulcerative Colitis."
  7. National Health Service England: “Ulcerative colitis-Diagnosis.”

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