Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Board-Certified Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition located throughout Illinois
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, but treatable form of inflammatory bowel disease that affects your child’s growth and development. To find out if ulcerative colitis is the cause of your child’s abdominal issues, call or make an appointment online today at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition throughout Illinois.
Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) causes inflammation of the inner lining of your child’s large intestine. With UC, your child’s colon becomes irritated, and his or her immune system can’t stop it.
The inflammation associated with UC starts in your child’s rectum and spreads upward, eventually affecting the entire colon. As a result, the cells on the surface of your child’s bowel die and fall off, causing open sores to form. These ulcers release pus, mucus, and blood.
There are three types of ulcerative colitis:
- Ulcerative proctitis: affects the rectum
- Pancolitis: affects the entire colon
- Distal colitis: affects the left side of the colon
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
Regardless of the type of ulcerative colitis, the doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition diagnose your child with, the disease presents with the same symptoms. These include both severe abdominal cramping and ongoing diarrhea. It is not uncommon for children with UC to suffer from gas, loss of weight, and passing often bloody stools more than eight times a day.
These symptoms result from the fact that an inflamed intestine is unable to absorb water and nutrients normally. The inflammation also causes the bowels to empty itself often.
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed?
To diagnose your child with ulcerative colitis, the doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition perform a thorough physical examination that includes blood tests to check for anemia and an increased white blood cell count. Elevated white blood cells signal inflammation. Additional UC tests include:
- Stool sample: check for abnormal bacteria and blood
- Upper endoscopy: examination of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine
- Colonoscopy: view of the entire length of the large intestine
- Biopsy: tissue removal for examination under a microscope
- Barium enema: examination of the large intestine using a liquid that coats the organs, enabling them to better show up on an X-ray
How is ulcerative colitis treated?
The doctors at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition aim to control your child’s inflammation, correct any nutritional deficiencies, and provide relief of symptoms. Treatment depends on your child’s age, severity of the disease, and other medical conditions and include both prescription and over-the-counter medication, as well as nutritional therapy. The doctors perform surgery as a last result when all other control measures fail.
To get help with your child’s ulcerative colitis, call or make an appointment online today at The Center for Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition in the Southern and Western Chicago suburbs.