Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis |Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis | Causes of Ulcerative Colitis | How UC Affects the Digestive System | UC and Malabsorption | UC-Friendly Foods
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that affects around 700,000 Americans. The disease can occur at any time in a person’s life, but usually shows signs or symptoms in those aged 15 – 30 years old. The disease affects both men and women equally, showing identical symptoms in all genders. Knowing the general symptoms of ulcerative colitis can help give you the information you need to confidently talk to your physician or medical professional in order to receive an official diagnosis.
Inovera Bioscience offers a calcium and vitamin D supplement to help reduce and manage the symptoms caused by ulcerative colitis. We also offer a multivitamin for those that suffer from malabsorption, which is a condition caused by the small intestine’s inability to absorb vital nutrients and liquids and is often brought on by ulcerative colitis. All of our natural supplements are designed to be highly absorbable, so those that suffer from diseases like ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) can use the nutrients they provide.
UC is an inflammatory condition that affects the GI tract. However, unlike Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine (the colon and rectum). The disease can affect the entire colon or just a part of it, but occurs nowhere else but the large intestine. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and most people that suffer from UC often experience fluctuations of severity as well as duration throughout their lives. Keep reading to see the main symptoms of ulcerative colitis
Abdominal Pain & Cramps
Pain in the abdomen as well as cramping from bloating can occur when someone is suffering from UC. Gas pain and bloating can also occur due to blockages in the stool. Diarrhea can also cause abdominal discomfort of pain.
Blood in the Stool
Blood can be seen in the stool or when you wipe when you have ulcerative colitis. This is often caused by the bleeding from fistulas or inflammation in the colon. Most of the time, this is what leads people to go to the doctor and get a medical diagnosis for their UC.
One of the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis is diarrhea. It is frequent, and often seems like it will never go away. Diarrhea can also lead to dehydration, cramping, fever, and numerous other uncomfortable symptoms.
Since your body is constantly trying to fight off this disease, you may experience slight or extreme fatigue depending on the severity of your symptoms. Your body is constantly trying to regulate your immune system, which results in fatigue. And if your body is unable to absorb essential nutrients, such as iron and vitamin D, then you’ll experience a constant loss of energy.
Nausea may occur at certain points of an ulcerative colitis flare-up, which may keep you from eating. These flare-ups can thus lead to unhealthy weight loss as well as added lethargy due to malnutrition. Depression from ulcerative colitis may also lead to an inability or lack of enthusiasm to eat.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may be suffering from ulcerative colitis or another IBD, call your doctor or healthcare provider to discuss any health concerns you may have. Your physician will work with you to set-up proper treatment of your ulcerative colitis. For those suffering from ulcerative colitis and malabsorption, Forvia and Forbones Xtra D can help control your symptoms and help you get back to normal.
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Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis
In order to get proper treatment for your ulcerative colitis, you’ll first have to get a medical diagnosis from a licensed physician. This means you’ll have to schedule a visit with a doctor who can discuss symptoms, medical history, and order tests. Once you have a medical diagnosis, then you can begin taking prescribed medicine and nutritional supplements for your ulcerative colitis.
Inovera Bioscience offers two highly absorbable ulcerative colitis supplements that help reduce symptoms caused by vitamin deficiency brought on by certain IBDs. Forvia comes in both a tablet as well as a chewable multivitamin with iron. Forbones Xtra D is a calcium and vitamin D supplement in a water-miscible form that can be used as an alternative form of medicine to help those who can’t absorb fats well due to ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Both supplements help promote better intestinal absorption and can help reduce stomach distress.
Below are a few procedures your doctor may try in order to properly diagnose you with ulcerative colitis. One or more of the tests may be required in order to get an accurate diagnosis depending on your medical record and possible symptoms. Keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list, so other tests not highlighted below might be needed.
Endoscopy for Ulcerative Colitis
An endoscopy is a medical procedure where a tube is inserted into your GI tract so that the gastroenterologist can see your colon, anus, intestines, and stomach. In order to minimize discomfort, you may be put under a general anesthesia. There are new tests that, instead of a traditional endoscopy procedure, you are allowed to swallow a pill containing a camera that takes about 50,000 pictures of your digestive tract as it naturally passes through your system. You simply wear a recorder at your waist, which records the images and allows your doctor to accurately diagnose anything that may be happening in your GI tract.
Blood Tests for Ulcerative Colitis
A blood test can help reveal whether or not you have ulcerative colitis. Since visual examination can’t provide conclusive results, viewing your body at one of its smallest but most-integral components can help reveal answers about its condition. Your doctor will be looking for elevated white blood cells, low blood proteins and mineral levels, anemia, and higher sedimentation rates. A blood test won’t give doctors a definite answer, but it does provide a piece to the larger picture.
X-Rays to Test for Ulcerative Colitis
X-rays are a powerful ally in diagnosing ulcerative colitis as well as Crohn’s Disease. Plain x-rays can reveal blockages in your intestines, which are caused by inflammation and possible scarring. Contrast x-rays can reveal bowel obstruction and perforation of the colon and large intestine.
CT Scan for Ulcerative Colitis
Also known as a CAT scan, CT scans take cross-views of your digestive tract and colon to put together small pictures of your GI tract. This can detect what’s happening in your large intestine as well as your entire GI tract for increased accuracy. Oral and IV contrast tests may also be required with CT scans.
Talk to your doctor so you can explore various types of tests that they think are appropriate for you. Your physician will also be able to teach you more about ulcerative colitis, treatments, medications, therapies, and other supplements you can take if you have UC.
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Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
While no one knows for sure what causes ulcerative colitis, it is known that UC is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Causes of ulcerative colitis can differ from person to person, but there are a few factors that can have an effect on whether or not you develop the disease. Regardless of how you developed ulcerative colitis, you will need some kind of treatment that can help to reduce and control flare-ups when they occur.
Forvia and Forbones Xtra D by Inovera are multivitamins that help treat ulcerative colitis. They help fight malabsorption and help your digestive tract to absorb vital nutrients. Talk to your doctor and see if Forvia or Forbones Xtra D is right for you.
It is important to know that ulcerative colitis is not a contagious disease. You cannot transmit the disease from touch or proximity of any kind. Causes of ulcerative colitis can include but are not limited to:
You can inherit and pass on genes that make you or others more susceptible to developing the disease. Up to 20 percent of people with ulcerative colitis have a blood relative that also has the disease, and chances of developing UC increase if both parents have an irritable bowel condition.
Studies show people who live in developed countries have a higher chance of developing ulcerative colitis. On top of that, those who live in cities have a higher chance of getting UC than those who live in more rural areas.
Your immune system may be hurting itself when you develop ulcerative colitis. UC can develop when inflammation in the colon occurs, which may be a response to certain foods or substance in foods. It may also occur as an autoimmune response, which happens when your GI tissues are inflamed and your body works against itself. Sometimes your body does a little too much to try and protect itself, which can result in the development of diseases like UC and Crohn’s.
It’s unsure whether or not ulcerative colitis happens solely from how you live your life, but certain activities and traits can surely increase the odds of you developing an autoimmune disease. Diet is thought to be one of the biggest factors in developing ulcerative colitis. Smokers are also at an increased risk of possible flare-ups since smoking affects your immune system. High stress levels and lack of sleep can also contribute to GI or colon inflammation, which can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases.
If you believe that you may have ulcerative colitis, or any other autoimmune disease, be sure to speak with a physician to seek proper treatment. Be sure to tell them everything that may have contributed to your development of ulcerative colitis.
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How UC Affects Your Digestive System
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a serious gastrointestinal disease that can affect you the rest of your life. The digestive system is one of the major parts of your body that’s affected by ulcerative colitis. While everyone with UC is affected in different ways, many people report having one or more of the following symptoms, all of which can vary in severity and duration.
Abdominal pain can be one of the symptoms caused by ulcerative colitis. This is usually shown in the form of cramping, which can be caused by several factors. One of those factors is usually digested food, which will pass by the ulcers or inflammation in your intestinal tract, causing them to react. Diarrhea has also been shown to cause severe abdominal pain and stomach cramping as well. Abdominal pain can also come from the inflammation itself.
Frequent Urges to Have a Bowel Movement
One of the worst symptoms UC can cause is the feeling of having to go to the bathroom over and over again. UC can increase the frequency at which you have bowel movements, sometimes forcing people to have three or more bowel movements per day depending on severity. These urges can be intense and seemingly never ending, even occurring right after you had a bowel movement just a few moments prior. Some feel like they may never feel completely “empty,” no matter how many bowel movements they have in the day.
Loss of Appetite
Those with UC have reported loss of appetite in some instances. This can be from several factors, one of which is psychological. After painful symptoms occur, those suffering from UC can associate certain foods or food groups with pain, making them less likely to eat those foods, or even food in general, in order to keep themselves from having to go through another flare up. Certain medications can also cause people to feel as if they’re full, even though they haven’t eaten any actual food.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can include frequent diarrhea. Because UC is an inflammatory bowel disease, it can be the direct cause of diarrhea. Those suffering from UC can have diarrhea numerous times a day, and symptoms can last for up to four weeks or more depending on the severity of your flare up. Medications and certain supplements can also be contributing factors to chronic diarrhea as well. Talking to a doctor is the best way to find the cause of your chronic diarrhea.
Those who are suffering from ulcerative colitis may notice blood in their stools. This bleeding can be caused by a number of factors, with one of the major ones being the ulcers themselves. Bleeding can also be caused by blockages or perforations in the intestines as well.
Here at Inovera Bioscience, we have two supplements that can help you with digestive system issues caused by ulcerative colitis, malabsorption, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Forvia is a highly absorbable multivitamin that comes in tablet and chewable forms and offers nutritional support for those suffering from diseases like UC, Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and more. Forbones Xtra D is a water soluble vitamin D and calcium supplement made for those who can’t absorb fats well.
Learn more about our highly absorbable multivitamin, or see if our water soluble supplement is right for you!
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Ulcerative Colitis and Malabsorption
As we’ve stated, ulcerative colitis can lead to discomfort in several different forms, however it can also prevent your body from absorbing essential vitamins and minerals needed to heal, grow, and thrive. Malabsorption can lead to many health issues which can lead to numerous problems throughout life. Nutrients we get from food help our bodies heal, which is critically important for those who suffer from inflammatory bowel diseases.
Here are a few ways ulcerative colitis can cause malabsorption.
Inflammation of the Intestines
As food is digested and works its way through your digestive tract, nutrients are absorbed by the intestines. The more nutrient rich foods are of course more beneficial to the body, however all foods are eventually broken down and used in some way by the body. However, if your intestines are inflamed, it can be difficult or impossible for your intestines to absorb the nutrients your body needs, no matter how healthy or nutrient rich the substance is. UC causes sections of your gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed, which can make it hard for your body to get the nutrients it needs.
While it may not be pretty, bile is an essential element when it comes to digestion. It breaks down food to make nutrient absorption even easier for our intestines. It also releases water from the food we eat, which helps with digestion and keeps the body hydrated. In the case of inflammatory bowel diseases, bile can’t do its job and break down foods by releasing water. This can lead to dehydration and diarrhea.
Loss of Appetite
Inflammatory bowel diseases like UC can cause people to either feel like they can’t eat or like they don’t want to eat due to pain or discomfort. Medications can also be factors of loss of appetite when it comes to ulcerative colitis. If humans don’t get the nutrients they need, the body can’t heal and become healthy again. Those who are suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases may not want to eat at all due to pain or fear of causing a flare up. This can cause malabsorption and lead to numerous health issues for people during every stage of life.
Symptoms of malabsorption can include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Stomach cramps
- Fatty/bulky stools
If you or a loved one is dealing with ulcerative colitis or malabsorption symptoms, the best thing to do is to talk to a doctor as quickly as possible. Inovera Bioscience has two vitamin and mineral supplements that are specially formulated to be highly absorbable. Forvia, our highly absorbable multivitamin, and Forbones Xtra D, our water soluble supplement, can help those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases and malabsorption.
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Ulcerative Colitis-Friendly Foods
Keeping a healthy diet is very important for those affected by ulcerative colitis. Foods that can help lessen the symptoms of UC or those that may help flare ups subside are important to take advantage of. Below are a few foods that are usually great options for those affected by UC, however it’s important to note that everyone’s digestive system is different, so not every food on this list may be right for you.
Protein, in just about every form, can help promote healing and growth. This is very important for those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis. Some proteins can however produce gas and can lead to discomfort, so starting with smaller portions is advised at first. UC safe foods that are high in protein include:
- Fish and seafood
- White meat chicken
- Lean cuts of pork
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
For some, the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce certain symptoms of ulcerative colitis. In some cases, anti-inflammatory foods, products, or supplements can actually do more harm than good, so consulting with your doctor before eating foods high in omega-3 should be your first step. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Fish (especially salmon, tuna, and mackerel)
Iron Rich Foods
Anemia, which causes the body to not produce enough red blood cells, is a common side effect of ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Foods rich in iron can help reduce the side effects of anemia, such as a constant feeling of sluggishness or always feeling tired. Anemia can be a serious disease caused by ulcerative colitis, so talking to your doctor to get a blood test is a good starting place. Foods that are high in iron include:
- Dark, leafy greens
Folate Rich Foods
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is essential in aiding mental health as well as providing natural and sustained energy. For those that don’t get enough folate or folic acid, irritability, feeling tired, and even depression can occur. Anemia can also be contracted for those who don’t get enough folate in their diets. Foods that are high in folate and can help with UC symptoms include:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Legumes (especially beans)
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Foods You Should Avoid with UC
As we said before, everyone’s digestive system is completely different. However, these foods are usually smart to avoid while suffering from a flare up caused by ulcerative colitis. Foods to avoid during an ulcerative colitis flare up include:
- Lactose (milk, cheese, cream, etc.)
- Alcohol of all kinds
- Carbonated drinks (soda, beer, seltzers, etc.)
- Sugary foods
- Spicy foods
- Foods high in fiber
- Foods high in unhealthy fats
- Seeds and nuts
- Cured meats
- Whole grains
If you’re having a hard time finding the right foods to enjoy during an ulcerative colitis flare up, consulting a doctor or licensed nutritionist may help you find the perfect diet. Inovera Bioscience also has two highly beneficial supplements that can help those affected by ulcerative colitis and malabsorption. Forvia, our multivitamin supplement, comes in both chewable and tablet form, and Forbones Xtra D, our calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus supplement, is a water-soluble supplement that is formulated to be gas-free.
If you have any questions about our vitamin and mineral supplements, contact Inovera Bioscience to learn more about our products and our company.
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