Fletcher Allen, a Vermont university hospital and medical center, serves all of
Vermont and the northern New York region. Located in Burlington, Fletcher Allen is a regional, academic healthcare center and teaching hospital in alliance with the University of Vermont.
What it is
Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation of the inner lining of the colon and rectum. People with ulcerative colitis have flare-ups followed by periods of remission throughout their lives - which can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.
May include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain or cramping, and an urgent need to go to the bathroom.
Who gets it
200,000 to 500,000 people in the U.S.
Medications can help control symptoms and lengthen periods of remission. There is no known cure, except for removal of the colon, if quality of life cannot be maintained with medication. But this condition can be monitored and controlled through routine check-ups, colonoscopies, biopsies, and blood tests.
"Fortunately," says Neil Hyman, M.D., "many patients can stay healthy without the need for surgery. When surgery is required, newer reconstructive techniques mean that most patients will not necessarily require an ostomy." (An ostomy is an operation -- necessary when part or all of the intestines are removed -- that allows stool to leave the body through an opening made in the abdomen).