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Three Ways to Treat Ulcerative Colitis

Three Ways to Treat Ulcerative Colitis

If you have ulcerative colitis, you know the inflammation and ulcers that develop on the inner lining of your large intestine cause unexplained weight loss, diarrhea, bloody stools, and abdominal cramping.

You’d do just about anything to get relief from the inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). At Digestive Disorders Associates, our team helps you manage ulcerative colitis so you can avoid flare-ups and live your life as normally as possible. 

Though ulcerative colitis doesn’t have a cure, symptoms can be controlled with smart treatments. Here are three primary ways we treat this autoimmune condition.

Dietary support

What you eat affects your overall health and, if you have ulcerative colitis, it makes a big difference in the intensity of your symptoms and ability to avoid unwanted weight loss and nutrient deficiencies. We provide advice about special diets, including those that support patients with ulcerative colitis. 

The dietary support offered at Digestive Disorders Associates is customized to you, but our general guidelines encourage you to eat 4-6 meals daily. This helps you avoid being too full, but helps you get enough calories to support your weight and energy levels.

In addition you should:

We will also encourage you to maintain a food journal so you can identify foods that trigger uncomfortable symptoms and learn to avoid them in the future. Common trigger foods are dairy, whole nuts and whole grains, and sugary foods.

Dietary support also includes menu suggestions so you can maintain a healthy diet that’s well-balanced and nutrient rich.

You also get guidance about how to eat when you’re experiencing a flare. You may benefit from an elimination diet, which involves removing a number of trigger foods to rest your gut. This diet includes lean proteins, low-fiber fruits, and refined grains like pasta and white rice.

Medication treatment

The providers at Digestive Disorders Associates also recommend specific medications to help you reach and maintain a state of remission. These drugs can also help you maintain a higher quality of life. 

Medications can soothe inflammation in your large intestine, so you have less pain and diarrhea.

These medications may include sulfasalazine, corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, biologics, and janus kinase inhibitors. These medications work by calming down your immune system and easing inflammation in the colon.

Other medications can help treat your symptoms. You may benefit from antidiarrheals and pain relievers too. 

Surgery in severe cases

Surgery is not the first course of treatment, but as your ulcerative colitis progresses, it may become necessary. If medications are unable to control your symptoms or you must rely on continuous treatment with corticosteroids for relief, surgery is an answer. Using corticosteroids for an extended time can cause serious side effects.

We may recommend surgery if you develop colorectal cancer or precancerous cells that increase your risk of developing cancer. Surgery may also be required if you develop life-threatening symptoms like perforation of the large intestine or severe rectal bleeding. 

Surgery typically involves removing the colon and rectum and changing the way your body stores and processes waste. We discuss in detail how to address your condition and the effects it will have on your life.

Our providers at Digestive Disorders Associates do everything possible to help you navigate the complex and disruptive symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Set up an appointment with our experienced team today. Contact one of our offices in Gambrills, Chester, or Annapolis, Maryland, or use this website to reach out.

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