Keep Up on Your UC Treatment Options

Doctor discussing treatment options for Ulcerative Colitis with a patient.

It’s important to find a treatment that’s right for you.

As the number of people affected by inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—like ulcerative colitis (UC)—rises, it’s apparent that there’s a need for research to find a cure. On the more positive side, scientific advances have led to a greater understanding of the disease and more treatment options for patients.

Doctor discussing treatment options for Ulcerative Colitis with a patient.

3 Main Goals of UC Treatment

1

Achieve remission
(no symptoms)

2

Maintain remission

(prevent symptom flare-ups)

3

Control inflammation

Making sure that you and your doctor are setting clear treatment goals is key to helping you get your UC controlled. Keep in mind that there’s no standard treatment that will work for all patients. Every person with UC has a different situation, and their treatment should be followed for their unique circumstances.

Individual factors that help you and your doctor determine a treatment approach include:

Disease severity

Location of the disease
 in your body

Past responses
to medication

Side effects of medication

Comorbidities

(other diseases or medical
conditions you have)

Disease severity

Location of the disease
 in your body

Past responses
to medication

Side effects of medication

Comorbidities
(other diseases or medical
conditions you have)

Work With Your Doctor to Understand UC Severity

It's important for you and your doctor to understand how severe your symptoms are. Beyond that, tests and procedures may be done to evaluate your disease activity and get an even better understanding of what’s really happening inside your body—and the inflammation that’s occurring—getting you to the treatment plan that’s right for you.

What Are the Prescription Medications for UC?

Medication for UC is designed to suppress your immune system’s abnormal inflammatory response—which is causing symptoms. When inflammation is suppressed, it offers relief from common symptoms (like diarrhea and abdominal pain).

There are 5 main categories of medications used to treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—like UC.

Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs)

Given either orally or rectally, these drugs work to decrease inflammation in the lining of the intestines and are usually used to treat mild to moderate UC symptoms. Sulfasalizine and mesalamine are examples of 5-ASA medications.

Antibiotics
Biologic Therapies (Biologics)
Corticosteroids (Steroids)
Immune Modifiers (Immunomodulators)
Doctor discussing treatment options with a patient.

Looking for a treatment option?

Talk to your doctor and see if this treatment for moderate to severe UC could be right for you.

What Are Non-prescription Medications for UC?

There are also over-the-counter or non-prescription medications that can help relieve symptoms. Remember to always talk to your doctor before taking any of these medications, but know that depending on your disease severity, your doctor might recommend one or more of these:

  • Antidiarrheals
  • Pain Relievers
  • Supplements, like:
    • Iron
    • Vitamin B12
    • Calcium and Vitamin D

When Is Surgery for UC Necessary?

Medication is often the first treatment option. But there are cases when people with UC might require surgery.

Surgery in ulcerative colitis usually involves removal of the colon and rectum. This is called a proctocolectomy, which might include:

  • Total proctocolectomy with end ileostomy: A total proctocolectomy is when the anus is surgically removed in addition to the colon and rectum. An ileostomy is a surgical procedure that creates a hole in the abdomen (called a stoma) through which solid waste is emptied into a pouch.
  • Proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis (IPAA): In this procedure, the colon and the rectum are removed, but the anus and anal sphincter muscles are preserved. The ileum is fashioned into a J-, S-, or W-shaped pouch. This eliminates the need to wear a permanent external bag.

It’s important to keep in mind that UC can still cause symptoms after surgery—so it's essential to continue to work with your doctor to keep up with the management of your disease. If you have treatment that works for you, it’s possible to achieve remission without surgery.  

When it comes to people with ulcerative colitis, in a given year:

of people with ulcerative colitis have symptoms under control

experience mild disease activity

experience moderate disease activity

experience mild disease activity

The longer a person with UC maintains symptom control, the less likely he or she is to experience a relapse, or flare-up, in the following year.

Be a Proactive Patient and Partner With Your Doctor

First and foremost, know that you and your doctor have the power to find the right treatment plan for you. While dealing with UC can definitely be difficult at times, never give up hope. And when it comes to your treatment plan, always keep the conversations open and honest with your care team.

QUESTION FOR YOU

How long have you been diagnosed?

"I'm not diagnosed"

It’s still important to be open about symptoms you might be experiencing.

Partner with your doctor>

 

"Under a year"

Always stay positive and be proactive. Make sure you know the facts about your condition.

GET THE FACT SHEET>

"1 to 3 years"

Make the most out of every appointment with your specialist.

Get The Doctor Discussion Guide>

"3 to 5 years"

Do you know how inflammation affects you inside the body—and impacts your symptoms?

See Inside Inflammation>

"Over 5 years"

Keep treatment conversations open with your specialist and have more productive visits.

Get The Doctor Discussion Guide>

QUESTION FOR YOU

How often do you experience symptoms?

“Daily”

Schedule an appointment with your specialist and make the visit even more productive.

GET THE Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Weekly”

Have an open conversation with your specialist. Make the most of your next visit.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Monthly”

Make sure that you’re telling your doctor everything they need to know to help you.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Rarely”

Did you know that inflammation can affect you—even if you don’t have symptoms?

SEE INSIDE INFLAMMATION>

Know the basics of Crohn’s or UC

See an overview of facts on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—all on one downloadable page.

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

Get a Restroom Request Card* and helpful info

Have a discreet way to ask for access to restricted restrooms if you have symptoms. And get updates, resources and more sent to your inbox.

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.

Is it time make a personalized action plan?

See how much time your disease is impacting you. Answer 5 quick questions and get 3 customized, timely steps to help you and your doctor take action with your disease.

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