Ulcerative Colitis - Treatment Overview
ulcerative colitis depends mainly on how bad the disease is. It usually includes medicines and changes in diet. A few people have symptoms that are long-lasting
and severe, in some cases requiring more medicines or
You may need to treat other problems, such as
anemia or infection. Treatment in children and teens may include taking
nutritional supplements to restore normal growth and sexual development.
If you don't have any symptoms or if your disease is not active
remission), you may not need treatment. But your doctor may suggest that you take medicines to keep the disease in remission.
If you do have
symptoms, they usually can be managed with medicines to put the disease in
remission. It often is easier to keep the disease in remission than to treat a
Mild symptoms may respond to:
- Enemas or suppositories that contain medicine.
- Aminosalicylates. These medicines relieve inflammation in the intestines. They are also taken to keep the disease in remission.
- Steroid medicines. Your doctor may prescribe these for a few weeks to control active disease.
- Changes in your diet.
For more information, see Home Treatment.
Moderate to severe symptoms
These symptoms usually require steroid medicines to
control inflammation. The dose you need may be higher than that
needed to treat mild symptoms. When inflammation goes away, you will take
aminosalicylates to keep the condition in remission.
Severe symptoms also may be treated with:
- Immunomodulator medicines or
cyclosporine. These strong medicines suppress the
immune system to prevent inflammation.
- Biologics. They block the
inflammatory response in your body and help reduce the inflammation in your
colon. They may be used if other medicines don't control your symptoms.
- Surgery. Removal of the
large intestine (colon) cures ulcerative colitis. But surgery may not cure all of the problems that the condition can cause in other areas of the body, such as the liver and joints. Surgery also is done to treat problems such as
bleeding or toxic megacolon.
To learn more, see Medications and Surgery.
Treatment in the hospital
You may need treatment in the hospital if you have severe ulcerative colitis with symptoms outside the digestive
tract, such as fever or
anemia. Treatment includes replacing fluids and
electrolytes lost because of severe diarrhea.
Your doctor will want to see you for a follow-up visit
about every 6 months while your condition is stable. You'll need to see the doctor more often if you
are having problems. Many people are so familiar
with their condition that they can handle minor flare-ups on
their own. In some cases, you may be able to talk with your doctor on the
phone for minor problems.
If you are taking medicines, you may need to have lab tests