Back to Basics

It turns out that my first blog post has highlighted to me that more people didn’t know that I had ulcerative colitis, or don’t really know much about it. I just assumed you all did, but I’m happy to be wrong. I’ll try my best to explain the basics now.

So Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic autoimmune disease that comes under the umbrella of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, the other major player in this group being Crohn’s Disease.

The main symptom is diarrhea containing blood, which is due to the inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine caused by the disease. There are a whole load of other effects that go with it, such as abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, and deficiencies such as anemia.

The disease is incurable, but can be managed with a range of drugs all of which come with their own set of side effects and risks. Steroids (not the body builder type) are like a magic silver bullet for UC, but all magic comes with a price, so they’re used sparingly to handle bad flare-ups.

Long term, the disease is managed with a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs that help the colon to heal, immunosuppressant drugs that dampen the immune system to prevent it being able to attack the intestine, or even specialised immunomodulator ‘biologics’ that are artificially produced proteins that alter the way the immune system works.

I’ve been deliberately general here about the disease, and haven’t talked about my experience of it. I’ll save that for following blog posts.

If you want to jump into this world then a good place to start is Crohn’s and Colitis UK’s information booklet, or simply ask me! I’ll see what reactions or questions you lot have, and decide on follow up posts based on that.