Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

The goal in treating ulcerative colitis is to reduce the inflammation, hopefully leading to remission. The two leading treatment options are medication and surgery.

Approximately 70 percent of patients respond well to medication and go into remission. For those who did not respond well to medication, surgery is an option.

Treatment options for Ulcerative Colitis include:

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment: Medication

The most common medication option is anti-inflammatory drugs. These can be used orally or topically to reduce inflammation of the colon and rectum.

Treating ulcerative colitis is a highly individualized process. At Johns Hopkins, we tailor your treatment to your specific needs and alter the medication as necessary. Your specific medication regimen will depend largely on the severity of your condition.

Other medications include:

  • Immunosuppressive medications: These drugs slow your immune system to stop the immune response that is causing the colon and rectum to swell.

  • Biologics: Like immunosuppressive medications, biologics target the immune system, but biologics act on specific immune system proteins that encourage inflammation.

Diagram of four different surgeries to address ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment: Surgery

If you did not respond to a medication regimen or you developed complications of colitis, you may be a candidate for surgery to treat ulcerative colitis.

Colectomy (removing part or the entire colon) may be used in children with ulcerative colitis who experienced growth retardation. In all patients, elective colectomy can be a cure for ulcerative colitis. Almost always, the procedure is a total colectomy, meaning the entire colon is removed.

Surgical procedures include:

  • Total proctocolectomy with Brooke ileostomy. Removal of your entire colon and rectum. Your doctor will perform an ileostomy, which brings out your small intestine through the abdominal wall. Waste collects in an ileostomy bag. An ileostomy can be temporary or permanent.

  • Restorative proctocolectomy with ileal pouch-anal anastomosis. Removal of the entire colon and most of or the entire rectum. A new rectum is created from the small bowel.This procedure can be performed laparoscopically to ease recovery and reduce scarring.

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