Ulcerative Colitis Specialists

Illinois Gastroenterology Group -  - Gastroenterology

Illinois Gastroenterology Group

Gastroenterology located in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace & Palos Heights, IL

Ulcerative colitis is typically diagnosed in people between the ages of 15-30 years, at which point it becomes a chronic condition that can flare up throughout the remainder of their lives. The board-certified doctors at Illinois Gastroenterology Group have extensive experience helping their patients live a long, healthy, and active life despite ulcerative colitis. If you develop abdominal pain and diarrhea, get the treatment you need to keep your symptoms in remission. Call one of the offices in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace, and Palos Heights, Illinois, or schedule an appointment online.

Ulcerative Colitis Q & A

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease affecting the inner lining of your large intestine or colon. The extent of the inflammation is different for each person. Your inflammation may only affect the rectum and lower end of the large intestine, or it can overcome the full length. Ulcerative colitis may also cause ulcers in the colon wall.

While the cause of ulcerative colitis is still being explored, it’s believed to develop from an interaction between your genes, immune system, and environmental factors. You’re more likely to develop ulcerative colitis if a first-degree relative was also diagnosed with the problem.

What Symptoms Develop Due to Ulcerative Colitis?

Over time, most patients with ulcerative colitis go through periods of remission alternating with symptom flare-ups. Your symptoms are affected by the severity of the inflammation and the amount of your colon that’s inflamed.

Mild to moderate colon inflammation typically causes:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Stool urgency
  • Rectal bleeding

Patients with more extensive inflammation have the same symptoms together with additional problems, including:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Bowel movements during the night
  • Loss of bowel control

Ongoing blood loss due to ulcerative colitis may cause iron deficiency anemia. Additionally, about 42% of people with ulcerative colitis develop symptoms outside their colon, such as eye irritation and inflammation, skin rashes, and joint pain.

What Tests Confirm an Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis?

After reviewing your medical history and symptoms, and performing a thorough examination, your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group may perform additional testing to confirm ulcerative colitis. You may need blood work, stool testing, and diagnostic imaging such as a CT scan to rule out potential complications.

It’s also important to have a colonoscopy so your Illinois Gastroenterology Group doctor can fully examine the length of your colon, determine the extent of your inflammation, and take biopsies.

How is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?

Your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group develops customized treatment designed to relieve symptoms and keep your ulcerative colitis in remission. Several types of medications are available to reduce inflammation, stop diarrhea, relieve pain, and maintain remission.  

Ulcerative colitis can be treated with surgery. However, that means removing your rectum and the entire colon. Your doctor at Illinois Gastroenterology Group may recommend surgery if you: 

  • Don’t respond to medications
  • Suffer side effects from medications
  • Develop toxic megacolon
  • Develop precancerous or cancerous lesions

If you develop abdominal pain and diarrhea, call Illinois Gastroenterology Group or schedule an appointment online.