According to a story from Medical News Today, leaving ulcerative colitis (a form of inflammatory bowel disease) untreated could result in dire consequences for a patient. While ideally all patients with this illness would be able to receive prompt treatment, the fact remains that difficulties with diagnosis or access to treatment can sometimes result in delays in care. In this article, we will look at what some of the consequences of treatment delay could be.
About Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a long term condition which is characterized by the appearance of ulcers and generalized inflammation of rectum and colon. The exact cause of the condition remains a mystery, but there do appear to be some risk factors, such as family history, diet, and exposure to the medication isotrentinoin. Smoking appears to have a slightly protective effect. Symptoms can include anemia, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and abdominal pain. They tend to appear in as relapsing-remitting pattern. In severe disease there is a risk of serious complications, such as megacolon or inflammatory disease in other parts of the body. The risk of colon cancer is also elevated. Treatment may include dietary changes, medication to control inflammation, and, when complications appear, surgery. To learn more about ulcerative colitis, click here.
Relief of Symptoms and Inducing Remission
Ulcerative colitis is generally regarded as a long term, progressive disease that will not enter remission without treatment. Delays in treatment could allow for symptoms to get worse and increase the risk of more dangerous complications. Inflammation within the colon may also begin to spread without intervention. More severe disease is also less likely to respond to treatment.
Complications that can arise to due delays in treatment may include loss of appetite, nutritional deficiencies, rectal bleeding, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal swelling, fever, rapid heartbeat, and anemia. Patients are also at greater risk of more severe problems such as colon cancer, liver and kidney issues, eye inflammation, ruptured bowel, arthritis, and mental health problems like depression.
While it isn’t possible to cure ulcerative colitis with medication alone, seeking prompt treatment is essential to prevent symptoms from getting out of control. Treatment can facilitate longer periods of remission and and slow the overall progression of ulcerative colitis.