A colon ulcer is a gaping sore in the lining of the colon; it is usually accompanied by inflammation of the colon wall. There are three types of colon ulcer ailments, each distinguished by its location. If the hole or inflammation is restricted to the left side of the colon, the condition is called distal colitis. Ulcerative proctitis is the name for ulcers and swelling located in the lower colon; this inflammation often extends to the rectum. When the entire colon is covered with sores and holes, the condition is known as pancolitis.
Cells lining the membrane of the colon often die during the period of ulcer-related irritation. Ulcers typically afflict those under age 30, although all ages can be susceptible. They are usually genetic conditions, observed mostly in those of white and Jewish lineage, according to research.
Symptoms alerting a person to the possible presence of a colon ulcer include loss of appetite, unintentional weight reduction, and anemia. Vitamins, minerals, and fluids needed by the body are often lost through the ulcers in the colon; this is what causes the anemia, as well as fatigue. Joint pain and bloody stools might also tip someone off to the presence of a colon ulcer.
Physicians typically diagnose colon ulcers through two methods: a physical exam or a colonoscopy. If a tactile examination of the rectal area does not provide enough evidence of an ulcer, a surgeon can insert a small camera connected to a computer monitor through the rectum and into the colon to do a colonoscopy. The latter procedure can yield still photographs and videos of the colon lining.
A colon ulcer is typically treated by prescribed corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and aminosalicylates. These medications can be delivered intravenously or orally. The drawback is that these drugs can cause migraines and nausea in some sensitive users.
If the ulcers have progressed beyond the aid of medication, whole or partial removal of the colon might be necessary. Between 20 percent and 40 percent of patients require these surgeries to prevent constant hemorrhaging, according to research. The removed colon can be replaced with a pouch either outside of the body or inside the body in the colon’s former location.
The surgery which involves attaching an outside pouch that needs to constantly be emptied of fecal matter by the owner is called ilestomy. An inside pouch, placed inside the body through a surgery known as ileoanal anastomosis, catches waste and releases it through the anus as normal. It does not require regular care from the owner. Punctures are a risk for either pouch.