Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel condition resulting in chronic inflammation and ulcers in the digestive tract, which affects more than 900,000 people in the United States. Ulcerative colitis affects both men and women, but risk factors for the condition include being over the age of 30 and a family history of the condition.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary depending on the severity of the condition and the site of the inflammation, but common signs include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, pain in the abdomen, weight loss, fatigue, fever, rectal pain and an urgent need to defecate.
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, but treatment focuses on alleviating the symptoms and bringing about long-term remission, usually through either drug therapy or surgery. Lifestyle changes such as alterations to diet and stress management may also prove effective.
Several medication options are available for treatment of ulcerative colitis, but drug classes commonly used are systemic corticosteroids, other specific antirheumatics, aminosalicyclic acid and related intestinal antiinflammatory agents, anti-rheumatic monoclonal antibody preparations, and selective immunosuppressants.