Ulcerative colitis

Also known as: inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) treatment.

At The London Clinic we provide a private ulcerative colitis treatment service. One of our world renowned specialists will see you at our comfortable state-of-the-art clinic near Harley Street. Why wait? Start your treatment journey today.

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune condition that may first appear in childhood causing abdominal pain, bloody diarrhoea, tiredness and weight loss.

Due to genetic and environmental factors the body’s immune system starts to attack healthy bacteria in the large intestine (colon) which causes inflammation and ulcers to form along its lining.

Flare ups can also cause mouth ulcers, sore eyes and painful swollen joints (arthritis).

An ulcerative colitis flare up can last days or weeks then go into remission for several months or longer.

At The London Clinic our treatment includes the most effective medications so you experience remission and symptom relief.

If you need surgery, our highly experienced gastroenterologists will carry out your procedure in one of our state-of-the-art private endoscopy theatres near Harley Street.

By choosing The London Clinic, you’ll get a more compassionate and connected kind of care, from enhanced pre-admission through to aftercare and follow up.

Contact us today, so you can start your treatment journey and get back to the life you love.

How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed?

At The London Clinic your gastroenterologist will diagnose your signs and symptoms by taking your medical history and offering you a physical examination.

They may do some tests to check your red blood cell count for anaemia, inflammatory markers and signs of infection. Tests can include:

  • Blood test
  • Stool analysis
  • CT scan
  • X-ray
  • Sigmoidoscopy (to examine the rectum and first part of the large intestine)
  • Colonoscopy (to examine the entire large intestine)

If you’re having a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy your gastroenterologist may take a small tissue sample (biopsy) for analysis during the procedure.

When is surgery for ulcerative colitis necessary?

As medication to treat ulcerative colitis becomes more effective, surgery is becoming less necessary.

Your gastroenterologist will talk to you about your treatment plan and if they think surgery is right for you.

The most common type of surgery for extensive ulcerative colitis is a subtotal colectomy with ileostomy which involves removing the large interestine but leaving the rectum intact.

Your gastroenterologist redirects your small intestine through the wall of your abdomen (ileostomy) where a small bag collects the waste.

You may be considering surgery if:

  • You’ve had extensive or total colitis for 10 years or more with repeat flare ups.
  • You develop a rare complication e.g. toxic megacolon or have a tear (perforation) in your colon.
  • You develop precancerous or cancerous changes in the bowel.

What are the benefits of ulcerative colitis treatment?

One benefit of medication for ulcerative colitis treatment is that it allows you to manage your symptoms more easily and go back to living a normal life.

With the right management, remission from flare-ups can last for long periods of time, sometimes years.

If you have extensive ulcerative colitis that needs surgery as treatment, the benefit is that the colitis and inflammation is unlikely to return.

Your specialist can help you decide if surgery is right for you.

At The London Clinic we aim to give you the best treatment tailored to suit you and your long term recovery.

How long does it take to recover from ulcerative colitis?

When you start ulcerative colitis treatment, your gastroenterologist will give you medication for any pain and to help your bowel movements become regular.

Immunosuppressants are a type of medication that can take two to three months to work, at which point the ulceration starts to heal and you’ll start to feel a lot better.

During your treatment your gastroenterologist will see you for regular checks to make sure your treatment is working well.

What are the side effects of ulcerative colitis treatment?

The treatments we offer for ulcerative colitis are the most up to date and are carefully balanced to treat your symptoms as effectively as possible.

All medications can cause side effects but we aim to minimise them as much as possible. Mesalazine rarely has side effects but occasionally can cause:

  • Headaches
  • Feeling sick
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Rash
  • If you take steroids you may experience:
  • Weight gain
  • Acne
  • Increased appetite
  • Finding it difficult to sleep (insomnia)
  • Your gastroenterologist won’t recommend taking steroids over a long period because they can cause:
  • Thinning bones (osteoporosis)
  • Cloudy lens in the eyes (cataracts)

Immunosuppressants such as azathioprine and methotrexate are very effective but they can make you more vulnerable to infections and anaemia.

Your gastroenterologist will bring you in for regular blood tests to check how you’re doing, if you take immunosuppressants.

Intravenous ciclosporin is a strong immunosuppressant, but you may experience side effects including:

  • Trembling
  • Excessive hair growth (hirsutism)
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen gums
  • Diarrhoea

We’ll invite you for regular blood tests to check your kidneys and liver, and to make sure you’re always on the right medication for you.

We will talk to you about your diet and lifestyle, and how best to minimise any side effects from your medication.

Your ulcerative colitis treatment at The London Clinic

At The London Clinic the gastroenterologists who treat ulcerative colitis are some of the most experienced in the UK.

They will guide you and make sure you have the right treatment plan for you.

If you need surgery, it will take place in one of our comfortable state-of-the-art endoscopy theatres near Harley Street.

At The London Clinic we also provide services such as eye clinics and physical therapy to help with symptoms such as joint pain.

To make you feel more comfortable while you’re with us we offer extra touches like a concierge service.

Your dedicated care team will look after you while you’re with us and support you during your recovery at home.

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