Albert M. Harary, MD
Gastroenterologist located in Midtown East/Upper East Side, New York, NY
If you suffer from chronic diarrhea or the constant need to have a bowel movement, you may have a condition known as ulcerative colitis. Dr. Albert M. Harary offers several diagnostic and treatment options at his Manhattan gastroenterology practice in Midtown East/Upper East Side to reduce your symptoms and prevent further medical complications, including in-office wireless capsule endoscopy testing. If you live in or near New York City, learn more about managing the symptoms of ulcerative colitis by calling or booking an appointment online today.
Ulcerative Colitis Q & A
This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the colon, the lower part of the large intestine. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary in intensity and may go into remission at times.
Inflammation such as irritation, swelling, or sores may affect the lower part of your colon, the entire colon, or your rectum, causing symptoms such as:
In some cases, you may also develop anemia, fatigue, fever, joint pain, eye irritation, and erythema nodosum, a skin condition that causes tender, red bumps to form under your skin. You may also develop large areas of open sores and inflammation on your skin.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis can be a result of any of the following:.
- Autoimmune disease: occurs when your immune system reacts against the lining of your intestine, mistakenly attacking healthy cells
- Genetics: the condition often runs in families, which may indicate certain genes contribute to ulcerative colitis
- Environment: use of antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or oral contraceptives, as well as a high-fat diet, may slightly increase your risk of developing ulcerative colitis, and it’s more common in nonsmokers and those who’ve had their appendix removed
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed?
Dr. Harary reviews your medical history and perform a physical examination to rule out other possible conditions. He may request blood work or stool testing and perform a colonoscopy, which allows him to get an up-close look at your intestine to determine if your symptoms are the result of ulcerative colitis.
To differentiate a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis from that of Crohn’s disease, Dr. Harary may recommend additional testing to check your small intestine. These tests may include a small bowel series, CT scan, MRI, or wireless capsule endoscopy, a procedure Dr. Harary performs in-office where you swallow a pill-size wireless camera.
What complications can develop from ulcerative colitis?
You can develop additional medical conditions as the result of ulcerative colitis, including:
- Anemia: an iron deficiency that results from blood loss due to chronic inflammation
- Inflammation: can occur outside of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, affecting your joints, eyes, liver, or skin
- Colon cancer: cancer risks increase due to chronic intestine inflammation
- Primary sclerosing cholangitis: a liver conditions where the bile ducts become inflamed and narrow, causing jaundice, fever, and liver damage
What treatment options are available for ulcerative colitis?
Dr. Harary primarily relies on medications to control your ulcerative colitis symptoms and might advise minimizing your fiber intake. He may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications to reduce inflammation and prevent pain. You may need to take medications orally, or in the form of a suppository or medicated enema.
In rare cases, surgery is necessary to treatment symptoms. However, if your symptoms are too severe to wait for medications to work, Dr. Harary may recommend surgery to eliminate colitis and reduce your risk for colon cancer.
To learn more, call or schedule an appointment online today.