How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Ulcerative Colitis!

If you have ulcerative colitis you can live a long healthy life by managing your symptoms to the best extent possible. Learn more.

Article Summary:
  • People diagnosed with ulcerative colitis have abnormalities of the immune system.
  • People with a relative with ulcerative colitis have a higher risk of developing it.
  • Though it can develop at any age, it commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30.

Anytime you are diagnosed with a disease or ailment it feels like a kick in the chest. You work hard to stay healthy yet there are certain diseases you can't prevent or cure.

However, if you have ulcerative colitis you can live a long healthy life by managing your symptoms to the best extent possible.

Living With Ulcerative Colitis Doesn't Have To Slow You Down.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Living With Ulcerative Colitis Doesn't Have To Slow You Down.

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What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
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Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes bouts of diarrhea and ulcers in the lining of the rectum and colon that can bleed and pus.

Scientists do not know what causes ulcerative colitis though people with this disease have abnormalities of the immune system. It is unclear if these abnormalities are the cause or result of this disease.

People with a parent or sibling with ulcerative colitis have a higher risk of developing this disease. And though this disease can occur in people of any race, Caucasian people and those of Jewish descent have a higher incidence of ulcerative colitis. Though it can develop at any age, ulcerative colitis commonly starts between the ages of 15 and 30.

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Signs & Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis:
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Ulcerative colitis typically starts in the rectum with inflammation, swelling and thickening of the tissue lining the rectum and intestine.

  • Abdominal pain and/or cramping
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Anemia
  • Fevers
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Loss of body fluids and nutrients
  • Skin lesions
  • Joint pain
  • Growth failure in children

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary tremendously from mild to severe. Some individuals go into remission for long periods with no symptoms at all whereas those with severe symptoms such as massive bleeding, severe illness, rupture of the colon or risk of cancer will need their colon removed.

Some Individuals Go Into Remission For Long Periods With No Symptoms At All.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Some Individuals Go Into Remission
For Long Periods With No Symptoms At All.

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How Is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed?
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Physicians will typically conduct a physical exam and thorough evaluation of a patient's medical history to determine if they may have this disease. Next, blood tests and a stool sample can provide further indication of disease or infection.

A colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy are the most accurate diagnostic tests available for detecting ulcerative colitis. X-rays, a barium enema or CT scans may also be ordered to diagnose ulcerative colitis or complications from the disease.

Colonoscopy & Sigmoidoscopy:
Colonoscopy is the endoscopic examination of the colon and the distal part of the small bowel with a CCD camera or a fiber optic camera on a flexible tube passed through the anus. It may provide a visual diagnosis (e.g. ulceration, polyps) and grants the opportunity for biopsy or removal of suspected lesions.

Sigmoidoscopy is the minimally invasive medical examination of the large intestine from the rectum through the last part of the colon. There are two types of sigmoidoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, which uses a flexible endoscope, and rigid sigmoidoscopy, which uses a rigid device. A sigmoidoscopy only examines up to the sigmoid, the most distal part of the colon, while colonoscopy examines the whole large bowel.

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How Bodybuilding Can Help You Manage Ulcerative Colitis
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  • Bodybuilders Stay On Top Of Their Health: Bodybuilders sense when something is wrong, research it, and get tested when necessary. The first step to managing any disease is to get an accurate diagnosis! If you think you have some of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, talk to your doctor.
  • Bodybuilders Take Medicine When Necessary: Sometimes drugs are necessary to help treat or manage a disease or specific symptoms. If you have ulcerative colitis, your doctor may prescribe drugs to control inflammation or manage pain, diarrhea or infection.
  • Bodybuilders Stay Educated: Bodybuilders with ulcerative colitis stay on top of the latest methods of treating and managing this disease by visiting:
  1. Clinical Trials: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov/
  2. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America: http://www.ccfa.org/
  3. United Ostomy Association: http://www.uoaa.org/
  4. NIDDK: http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/

Bodybuilders Sense When Something Is Wrong, Research It, And Get Tested When Necessary.
Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
Bodybuilders Sense When Something Is Wrong,
Research It, And Get Tested When Necessary.

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Additional Tips To Help You Manage Ulcerative Colitis:
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  • Talk to others who also have ulcerative colitis - they may give you tips on handling symptoms.
  • Keep your physician informed about all medications (over the counter or prescription) and nutrition supplements you are taking.
  • Write down any questions you have for your physician and keep a log of your symptoms and any potential triggers (food, medicine, stress, illness).
  • Get a colonoscopy every 1-2 years. Approximately 5% of people with ulcerative colitis develop colon cancer though your risk increases with greater damage to the colon and duration of disease. According to the American Cancer Society, individuals with this disease should have a colonoscopy done 8 years after initial diagnoses or when most, or all, of the large intestine is involved. Patients can wait 12-15 years if only the left side of the large intestine is involved.

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Conclusion
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Ulcerative colitis can put you on the sidelines when you least expect it. However, bodybuilding can help you stay on top of this disease by making you a well-informed consumer that looks for proactive solutions to disease management.

About The Author:

Marie Spano is a leading authority on translating the latest nutrition and exercise science research into real life applications. Ms. Spano has also helped Olympic athletes, NFL-bound athletes and Fortune 500 executives enhance their health and performance through sound nutrition practices. She is a regular contributor to Bodybuilding.com. For more information see: http://www.mariespano.com/.

References:

  1. Ulcerative Colitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), NIDDK, NIH. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colitis/
  2. Ulcerative colitis. Medline Plus, NIH. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ulcerativecolitis.html

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