Easy Ways to Live Well: Steph McGovern discusses bloating

Stomach bloating typically describes what happens when too much gas fills up the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. With no exit for expulsion, the tummy tends to stretch and swell. This may result in painful cramps that last for hours, diminishing a person’s overall quality of life. Most often this pain and symptoms subside and it’s no cause to worry, however, sometimes your bloating could signal a completely different condition you were unaware of.

In many cases, those who suffer with ulcerative colitis also suffer with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The symptoms of IBS often include bloating which is why when your stomach swells, it could be a sign of something more serious.

Other symptoms include diarrhoea and abdominal pain.

Unfortunately, IBS symptoms can be troublesome and related to active colitis.

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Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed.

The colon is the large intestine and the rectum is the end of the bowel where stools are stored.

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can cause varying levels of pain.

Colitis is sometimes described as a chronic condition.

This means that it is ongoing and lifelong, although a person may have long periods of good health known as remission, as well relapses or flare-ups when the symptoms are more active.

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Ulcerative Colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the colon and rectum (the large bowel), said Crohn’s and Colitis UK.

The health site continued: “Inflammation is the body’s reaction to irritation, injury or infection, and can cause redness, swelling and pain.

“In Colitis, ulcers develop on the surface of the bowel lining and these may bleed and produce mucus.

“The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may affect the entire colon. If Colitis only affects the rectum, it is called proctitis.

“Ulcerative Colitis is one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, so may also be called ‘IBD’. The other main form of IBD is a condition known as Crohn’s Disease.”

Dr Bret Lashner said: “Patients with ulcerative colitis may develop one of three types of polyps.

“Pseudopolyps, which typically develop following severe inflammation of the colon, have no dysplasia (precancerous cells), and pose no risk of cancer.

“Dysplasia-associated lesions or masses (DALMs), which are benign, irregular lesions that have dysplasia (abnormal cell growth), and markedly increase the risk of colon cancer.

“Sporadic adenomas, which occur frequently in the general population of people over age 50 and only slightly increase one’s risk of cancer.”

At present there is no cure for Ulcerative Colitis, but drugs, and sometimes surgery, can give long periods of relief from symptoms.

The NHS added “Ulcerative colitis is thought to be an autoimmune condition.

“This means the immune system, the body’s defence against infection, goes wrong and attacks healthy tissue.

“The most popular theory is that the immune system mistakes harmless bacteria inside the colon for a threat and attacks healthy tissue.

“Exactly what causes he immune system to behave in this way is unclear.”

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