Your colon is your large intestine. When your colon and your rectum — the final stop for waste in your body — become inflamed, you may experience unpleasant symptoms like abdominal pain.
A chronically inflamed colon and rectum may be the result of the autoimmune condition known as ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Between 600,000 and 900,000 people in the United States have ulcerative colitis.
If you’ve been struggling with abdominal pain and are concerned that it might be ulcerative colitis, a consultation with Dr. Bharat Pothuri of GastroDoxs is a smart step. The following signs indicate that your abdominal pain could be associated with this chronic and potentially serious disease.
All about ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that primarily affects the colon and rectum. One of the most common symptoms is abdominal pain, which can vary in intensity and location. The pain associated with ulcerative colitis is often crampy and is commonly experienced in the lower left side of the abdomen.
Remember, though, abdominal pain alone does not confirm that you have ulcerative colitis, as various gastrointestinal conditions can also show up with similar symptoms. Abdominal pain can also indicate irritable bowel disease, food poisoning, or gastroenteritis.
Abdominal pain with additional symptoms
The abdominal pain that occurs with ulcerative colitis is usually persistent or recurring. It usually appears on the left side and the cramps often occur with bowel movements.
Your abdominal pain may also be accompanied by additional symptoms, including:
- Frequent episodes of diarrhea, often containing pus or mucus
- Bloody, loose stools
- Feeling that you need to release stool, but are unable to
- Fatigue and weight loss
Ulcerative colitis prevents you from absorbing nutrients well, so when it becomes more advanced, you may feel extremely tired and weak as a result.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis often impact your everyday life, affecting your ability to work, go out, and enjoy activities.
The severity of your symptoms depends on how much of your colon is inflamed and how advanced the disease is.
When to seek a medical consultation
If you’re experiencing persistent or severe abdominal pain along with any of the above symptoms, make an appointment at our office. Even if it’s not ulcerative colitis, it could indicate another digestive condition that needs attention.
Dr. Pothuri can conduct a thorough examination, including diagnostic tests such as a colonoscopy and imaging studies, to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Early detection and proper management of ulcerative colitis greatly improves your quality of life. When you have an inflammatory bowel disease, you’re at greater risk of anemia, colon cancer, osteoporosis, and liver scarring. Dr. Pothuri offers medications, and sometimes surgery, to help you ease symptoms and discourage these complications.
If you have chronic abdominal pain and suspect inflammatory bowel disease, make an appointment at GastroDoxs in Houston, Texas, right away. Call or use this website to schedule your first consultation.