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Ulcerative Colitis Specialist

Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg

Gastroenterology located in Fredericksburg, VA & Stafford, VA

If you suffer with abdominal pain, diarrhea, cramping, or other unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms, you may have ulcerative colitis. At Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg and Stafford, Virginia, the expert team of gastroenterologists offers treatments to help you better manage the disease and reduce the risk of complications. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book a consultation online today.

Ulcerative Colitis Q&A

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease causing sores and inflammation in your digestive tract. It affects the inner lining of your rectum and large intestine and can cause negative symptoms when left untreated. Treatment helps alleviate symptoms and your risk of life-threatening problems.

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Rectal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Strong urges to defecate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea with pus or blood
  • Inability to defecate
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to grow in children

Your symptoms could be mild, moderate, or severe; they vary from person to person and might come and go.

Complications that can develop because of untreated ulcerative colitis include severe dehydration, bleeding, blood clots, or a hole in your colon. Bone loss, joint inflammation, and a higher risk of colon cancer are also concerns.

What are the risk factors for ulcerative colitis?

Anyone can develop ulcerative colitis, but some factors boost your risk of having it. Examples include immune system irregularities, a family history of ulcerative colitis, and being older than 30. However, the exact cause of ulcerative colitis isn’t clear.

How does my provider diagnose ulcerative colitis?

The Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg team discusses your symptoms and medical history with you to diagnose ulcerative colitis and develop an effective treatment. They check your vital signs, complete a physical exam, and recommend specific diagnostic tests. 

Diagnostic tests may include blood tests, stool tests, a colonoscopy, or a flexible sigmoidoscopy to get an in-depth view of the inside of your digestive tract. Your specialist might also suggest imaging procedures like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs if necessary.

How is ulcerative colitis treated?

If you have ulcerative colitis, recommended treatments may include medications, surgery, routine cancer screenings, or lifestyle changes. Your provider encourages you to properly manage stress and make dietary changes to manage unpleasant symptoms. 

Limit your intake of dairy foods, eat smaller meals, drink more fluids, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks.

To find out if you have ulcerative colitis or get treated for it, call the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg office or schedule an appointment online today.