David Magner, MD, FACS, FASCRS
Board-Certified Colorectal Surgeon located in Beverly Hills, CA
Ulcerative colitis can be an extremely debilitating disease that may lead to potentially life-threatening complications. Symptoms include abdominal pain and diarrhea with either blood or mucus present. Ulcerative Colitis can usually be treated with medicines; however, if medicines fail then surgery is required to cure the disease. David Magner, MD, FACS, FASCRS in Beverly Hills, California offers the best in patient-centered treatment, utilizing the most innovative and minimally-invasive approaches to colorectal surgery. If you think you might have ulcerative colitis, call Dr. Magner’s office or book online today.
Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a bowel disease that causes inflammation and sores, or ulcers, on the lining of your large intestine and rectum. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis usually develop gradually over time and can become so debilitating they prevent you from living a healthy life.
Without proper treatment, ulcerative colitis may lead to severe, life-threatening complications like liver disease, malnutrition or increased risk of colon cancer.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis symptoms may vary depending on the severity of your inflammation and where it’s located along your digestive tract. Most people have mild to moderate symptoms, which may include:
- Diarrhea, often mixed with blood or mucus
- Severe stomach pain and cramping
- Rectal pain or bleeding
- Weight loss and fatigue
- Feeling an urgent need to go to the bathroom
- Not being able to go despite the sense of urgency
What causes ulcerative colitis?
While the exact cause remains unknown, doctors believe genetics and immune system abnormalities might play a role in causing ulcerative colitis.
Immune system malfunction
When your body’s immune system fights off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal response may trigger the immune cells to attack the healthy cells of your digestive tract.
Ulcerative colitis is common amongst men and women who have family members with the disease. However, most people suffering from ulcerative colitis don’t have a family history of it.
How does a colorectal surgeon treat ulcerative colitis?
It’s important to tell your doctor whenever you experience rectal bleeding or severe diarrhea that doesn’t get better with over-the-counter medications.
Dr. Magner first does a physical exam, and then he runs tests to confirm you have ulcerative colitis and not a disease with similar symptoms, such as Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or diverticulitis.
Tests may include:
- A colonoscopy, possibly with a biopsy of any abnormal tissue
- Blood tests looking for infection or inflammation
- Stool samples looking for blood or white blood cells
Initial treatment often involves medicines and dietary changes. Medicines may include anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, pain relievers, or immune system suppressors. Depending on the severity of your symptoms and the response to simple treatments, you might need surgery.