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Ulcerative Colitis

The Latest Medical & Surgical Treatments For Ulcerative Colitis

The team of gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons at the Digestive Health Institute have a wealth of experience in treating ulcerative colitis. One of our gastroenterologists, Dr. Jennifer Seminerio, specializes in treating inflammatory bowel disease. Her high level of specialization and experience helps her find effective ways to manage ulcerative colitis for individual patients. Should patients find themselves in need of surgery to treat ulcerative colitis, Dr. Allen Chudzinski and Dr. Haane Massarotti, DHI’s colon and rectal surgeons can offer minimally invasive procedures that are easier on patients and preserve as much normal function as possible.

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes ulcers and abscesses to develop in the lining of the large intestine. Although the condition can be diagnosed at any age, most patients are diagnosed before age 30. Just like Crohn’s disease, another inflammatory bowel and autoimmune condition, ulcerative colitis flares up at times before going back into remission. However, ulcerative colitis differs from Crohn’s disease in that it only affects the large intestine (colon and rectum). Also, the area affected by ulcerative colitis is continuous instead of being patchy as Crohn’s disease tends to be. In addition to causing bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain, ulcerative colitis increases a person’s chance of developing cancer in the affected area. That is why it is important to be cared for by an experienced team such as the one at DHI.

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Symptoms of colitis can include:

  • Diarrhea, often with blood
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Anemia
  • Dehydration
  • Eye and skin problems
  • Fatigue
  • Fevers
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea

Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis

Because ulcerative colitis symptoms can be a lot like those of other gastrointestinal conditions, including Crohn’s disease, an accurate diagnosis is important. Depending on a patient’s medical history and exact symptoms, diagnosis is usually confirmed by endoscopy with the help of laboratory tests and imaging studies.

Lab tests used to screen for ulcerative colitis include:

  • Complete blood count (CBC) test
  • Tests that measure inflammation, including C-reactive protein screen (CRP) and sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Liver function test
  • Stool tests

Imaging studies helpful in diagnosing ulcerative colitis include:

  • Colonoscopy with biopsy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • CT scan or MRI
  • Capsule endoscopy
  • Barium enema

Medical Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

The goal of using medicine in treating ulcerative colitis is to manage flare-ups and prolong the times when the disease is in remission. Patients start treatment by taking anti-inflammatory medications and medicines that suppress the immune system. Dietary changes can help as well. While one’s diet does not cause inflammatory bowel disease, avoiding certain foods can help make IBD symptoms less severe.

These medicines and diet changes can help keep their symptoms mild to moderate, and some patients may even experience long periods of remission. For others, despite medical management, severe symptoms that do not go into remission persist. These patients may need surgery.

Surgical Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

When ulcerative colitis symptoms are severe or chronic, surgery may be in order. The goal of surgery for ulcerative colitis is to help patients get back to a more normal lifestyle. DHI’s colon and rectal surgeons have helped numerous patients with ulcerative colitis do just that.

Common surgical treatments for ulcerative colitis include:

  • Colectomy – Removal of the colon
  • Proctocolectomy – Removal of the colon and rectum

More details about these surgeries can be found on DHI’s Colorectal Surgery page.

J-pouch surgery helps restore normal function for patients.

Removing the colon results in a need for an ostomy, or a new way for stool to exit the body. However, the colon and rectal surgeons at DHI are experienced in offering a way to do this that preserves normal function. The procedure is called an ileal pouch anal anastomosis, but it is better known as J-pouch surgery. The benefit of J-pouch surgery is that patients are not left with a permanent need for an abdominal opening and ostomy bag.

If you have ulcerative colitis or are experiencing symptoms of it and would like to be seen by a doctor at DHI, call for an appointment at (813) 615-7557.



At DHI, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within 5 business days, and often earlier. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer recurrence, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer of the digestive system, don’t wait.
Call the Digestive Health Institute at (813) 615-7440.

Learn more about our Surgical Cancer Care program.

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