Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ulcerative Colitis - Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis and crohn's disease both of which are disorders that come under the category of irritable bowel syndrome have certain common symptoms. The three most frequent symptoms are persistent diarrhea, abdominal pain and fever.

Ulcerative colitis is a disorder that is caused due to inflammation of the inner lining of the colon. It is one of the two disorders that fall under the irritable bowel syndrome with the other being crohn's disease.

The symptoms of this condition are similar to crohn's disease and hence, it is difficult to diagnose which disorder of the irritable bowel syndrome a patient suffers from unless detailed medical screening is done. Here is a list of symptoms, some of which are common to both these disorders. These symptoms are also likely to vary depending on the severity of the inflammation or the extent to which the colon is inflamed.

Recurrent diarrhea - Quite often patients refer to loose stools three or four times a day as irritable bowel syndrome. However, it is essential to diagnose the condition to receive proper treatment. Anyone suffering from recurrent diarrhea three or four times a day for several days on end should consult a physician and undergo the prescribed tests for diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.

Abdominal pain - Patients suffering from ulcerative colitis often suffer from cramping in the left side of their abdomen. This is one point of difference from crohn's disease where the pain is usually experienced in the right abdominal region. Persistent abdominal pain in left side warrants medical evaluation to diagnose or at least rule out the disorder.

Fever/fatigue - Since this disorder is caused by an inflammation in the body, a common symptom is fever that could either be mild or very high, but persistent. In some cases, patients suffering from ulcerative colitis could also experience constant fatigue, which is caused by the inflammation and aggravated by diarrhea.

These are the three most common symptoms of the irritable bowel syndrome. Additionally, there could be symptoms such as rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, and urgent need to pass stool after every meal. It is important to address the symptoms early as medication can help control the disorder. Common technique used for diagnosis of ulcerative colitis includes colonoscopy based on which a biopsy of the tissue is carried out. Certain other tests could also be prescribed. Once the physician is able to identify which disorder of the irritable bowel syndrome the patient suffers from and rules out crohn's disease, he can prescribe medication to control the inflammation.

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