Dealing with ulcerative colitis flare-ups

27 June 2018
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27 June 2018, Comments: 0

Ulcerative colitis is defined as a lingering condition affecting the lining of the colon with periods free from any symptoms followed by flare-ups. The condition can detrimentally affect the qualify of life and daily functioning.

Close look on an ulcerative colitis flare-up

An ulcerative colitis flare-up is an acute worsening of the signs of bowel inflammation. It is characterized by debilitating symptoms such as:

  • Moderate to intense abdominal pain or cramps that could not be eased by commonly used pain or antispasmodic drugs.
  • Bleeding from the rectum or blood-streaked stool

    Dealing with ulcerative colitis flare-ups

    Moderate to intense abdominal pain or cramps that could not be eased by commonly used pain or antispasmodic drugs.

  • Inability to achieve a satisfactory bowel movement
  • Moderate to severe diarrhea that can result to dehydration in serious cases
  • Weight loss due to appetite loss and diarrheal symptoms
  • Nutritional issues from frequent and serious flaring

Common triggers

Every individual with ulcerative colitis has various triggers. Some of the common triggers include:

  • Certain drugs can affect the natural balance of the gut flora by eliminating both good and bad bacteria. These drugs include broad-spectrum antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
  • Sudden withdrawal from drugs especially if using steroids or maintenance therapies.
  • Alterations in the level of hormones during pregnancy can result to a relapse of symptoms or acute flare-ups.
  • Any ailment or infection that disrupts with the level of electrolytes in the body can also trigger flare-ups of ulcerative colitis.


Remember that corticosteroids are useful in stopping flare-ups of ulcerative colitis such as prednisone and budesonide.

The main categories of the drug utilized for treatment include:

  • Steroids – these are given orally or intravenously or as an enema to suppress the immune system inflammation.
  • 5-Aminosalicylates – this drug is released in various parts of the digestive tract which aims on reducing the inflammation directly in the colon wall
  • Antibiotics – these are given if the contributing factor to the flare-ups are infections
  • Immunomodulators – these include drugs such as methotrexate which work on the immune system by modifying its activity to lessen the inflammatory response
  • Biologics – these drugs work on the immune system against the inflammatory protein TNF-alpha

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