Ulcerative Colitis

  • Main Pavilion, Level 5
  • Medical Center Campus
  • 111 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT, 05401
  • Phone: 802-847-8865
  • Fax: 802-847-7082
  • Directions

Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a chronic disease, meaning the symptoms may persist over time. Ulcerative colitis can range from mild to severe, with some patients experiencing debilitating symptoms. While there is no definitive cure, the IBD experts at Fletcher Allen Health Care will work with you to reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. You may even experience long-term remission from your symptoms.  

Ulcerative Colitis: What You Need to Know

Teamwork - Our gastroenterology and surgery team works together closely, providing you with the comprehensive, effective high quality care you need. The new ambulatory care center at FAHC makes it easy to see the specialists you need by gathering all of our experts in one place. During one visit, you may meet with a gastroenterologist, a colorectal surgeon and even a registered dietitian. GI nurses and a dedicated pharmacist will also be readily available to answer questions regarding medications and possible adverse effects.

Experienced, trusted expertise - Our doctors have more than a decade of experience in treating inflammatory bowel disease. Our team includes fellowship-trained doctors and surgeons as well as registered dietitians specializing in gastrointestinal conditions. In addition, our dedicated pathologists have fellowship training and extensive experience in diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases.

Technology - The most advanced endoscopic diagnostic equipment and surgical technology are available. If you need surgery, our surgeons can perform minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical procedures, leading to less pain and a shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery. 

Latest Treatments - Fletcher Allen also participates in a number of FDA sponsored clinical trials for new ulcerative colitis medications. Talk to your doctor to find out if you are a candidate for a clinical trial.

Personalized care - We don’t treat conditions; we treat patients. We examine how ulcerative colitis affects all aspects of your life, and we plan your treatment accordingly. Our goal is to help you regain control of your life and enjoy your daily activities.

Prevention - While there is no way to prevent ulcerative colitis, our IBD team will work with you to manage your condition and prevent flare-ups. Our registered dietitian can help you plan a well-balanced, nutritious diet. This may prevent malnutrition and osteoporosis. Talk to us about regular colon cancer screening, since patients with ulcerative colitis are at higher risk for developing colon cancer.

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is considered a form of an autoimmune disease and may affect the rectum and all or part of the large intestine (colon). The cause or etiology of ulcerative colitis is unclear. One theory is the bacteria living inside the intestine may provoke a reaction from your immune system. Your body recognizes these bacteria as a foreign and begins am immune response causing inflammation of the lining of the bowel resulting in injury to the bowel. 

Once the inflammation begins, it continues if not treated, causing the lining of the large intestine to wear away or bleed. It is not a contagious disease. However, it does increase your risk of developing colon cancer, so you should undergo regular colon cancer screenings. 

Some people may experience symptoms in other parts of their body, including:

  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Liver
  • Back
  • Joints

Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis and Treatment

Gastrointestinal conditions may be difficult to diagnose, because symptoms can mimic those of other diseases. An accurate diagnosis is the critical first step so appropriate treatments may be instituted to begin to relieve symptoms associated with the disease. At Fletcher Allen, our expert gastroenterologists and pathologists work carefully to rule out other diseases so we can offer you a definitive diagnosis.

Treatment options usually include medication. The specific medication depends on the severity of your symptoms. For patients who do not find relief with medication, we offer expert surgical procedures.

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Find a Fletcher Allen physician or call us at 802-847-8865.