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Should You Have Surgery For Ulcerative Colitis?

Posted Jul 04 2011 5:00am

Should you have surgery for ulcerative colitis is a very common thought and question every colitis sufferer will ask themselves and their doctor but the need for it is not inevitable. In fact, it i rather far from inevitable and should not be the first thing that you worry about in the early days.

Only a small percentage of all those diagnosed with the disease have to ultimately undergo the surgical processes and they can be grouped into different categories depending on the extent of their colitis and how it affects their life.

The standard surgical procedure for colitis will involve the removal of the entire large colon and this will also include the complete removal of the rectum as well. It has to be understood and acknowledged that such an operation is the only permanent cure available for colitis. Whilst the sufferer may have come across many so called cures, whilst some may reduce the symptoms they will never actually cure the disease.

So which people who have been diagnosed with colitis are most at risk of having to consider surgery? The first group will be those who suffer from fulminant colitis, where the extent of the inflammation affects over half of the entire large colon.

Whilst remission is possible with such extensive coverage, when a relapse happens the symptoms are severe and there are cases when they do not respond sufficiently to medications. At this point, the colitis can appear out of control and the only solution is surgery as there can be a further danger of perforation of the bowel occurring.

A second grouping of colitis sufferers who could face the prospect of surgery is those with long standing pancolitis or left-sided colitis, which describes the area of the bowel leading down to the rectum. Again, the symptoms may not be able to be brought under control or the sufferer has over a period of time be unable to attain a satisfactory amount of time in remission.

Someone diagnosed with this extent of colitis will also face an increased risk of developing colon cancers. The removal of the entire large colon is important when precancerous changes are detected in the colon lining.

There is a third group that can also face the prospect of surgery for colitis. These are people who have not been able to gain much respite from colitis symptoms. Whilst the extent of the inflammation can be quite small, there are some who just cannot bring symptoms under control and live in such a state for several years.

Lifestyle, diet and medications have all been trialled and tested but to no avail. In order to achieve a quality of life that resembles the norm, many chose the surgery option to rid themselves of colitis for good. Life does change when surgery happens, but at least these patients can look forward to a less painful and more normal and active life ahead.

It can either be a considered decision to opt to have surgery for colitis to bring some kind of normality back to a life for those that have moderate yet continuous symptoms or the decision to have surgery can be forced upon the patient due to symptoms being out of control and unresponsive to the treatment.

Whatever the reason for surgery for colitis, it is a life changing event that, whilst bringing its own challenges in the immediate aftermath and requiring the need to alter daily habits for the remaining lifetime, it can offer welcome respite from the painful grip that colitis has over so many sufferers.

To find out more about surgery for colitis go now to The 27 Most Wanted Colitis Answers where you will find out how to live with colitis and how to face up to having surgery. It’s at surgery for colitis

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