Ulcerative colitis us an inflammatory bowel disease mainly affecting the lining of the colon (large intestine) and rectum. There is no real known cause for this disease and therefore there is no cure. It can develop at any age, but seems to be most prevalent between ages 15 and 30. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine approximately 40-240 people per 100,000 people in North America are affected by ulcerative colitis, and approximately 750,000 Americans have this disease.
Types of ulcerative colitis
There are different types of ulcerative colitis which are classified according to where the disease is most prevalent. They include:
Acute ulcerative colitis – this is rare and affects the entire colon.
Pancolitis – affects the entire colon.
Left-sided colitis – affects the length from the rectum up to the sigmoid and descending colon.
Proctosigmoiditis – affects the rectum and sigmoid colon.
Ulcerative proctitis – affects the area closest to the rectum.
Each of these types of ulcerative colitis has symptoms and signs which would be diagnosed by your doctor.
Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include:
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding and/or small amounts of blood in the stool
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea (with pus and/or blood)
While there is no cure for ulcerative colitis, there are medications available that can help treat the symptoms and possibly help the patient with long term remission.
Prescription Asacol for Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis
Asacol is an anti-inflammatory prescription medication used to treat and prevent mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease) by reducing the inflammation and other uncomfortable symptoms. The active ingredient in Asacol is mesalamine.
Mesalamine is available in the United States and Canada under different brand names:
U.S. Brand Names
- Asacol HD
Canadian Brand Name
There are three dosage forms available:
- Tablet – delayed release
- Capsule – delayed release
- Capsule – extended release
For most patients experiencing mild to moderately active ulcerative colitis the dose is usually two 400mg tablets taken three times a day six weeks. Once the ulcerative colitis is in remission the dose is reduced. The total duration of treatment may run approximately 6 months. It is important to note that treatment duration and doses are dependent on the patient’s health and diagnosis, so speak to your doctor about your treatment plan.
Asacol may interact with certain medications such as antiviral medications, aspirin, NSAIDS, certain cancer medications and antibiotics. Speak to your pharmacist about taking Asacol if you are on any other medications or supplements.
Lifestyle Tips for Managing Ulcerative Colitis
One of the most important factors in managing daily living while dealing with ulcerative colitis is food. Eating foods that are too high in fiber, such as fruit, nuts, whole grains, and raw vegetables may be problematic. It’s best to cook these kinds of foods thoroughly. Alcohol, caffeine, carbonated drinks, dairy products and spicy foods can also be troublemakers. Keep a food diary to help determine which foods set off flares.
Some studies are showing evidence that certain foods in moderation may help fight the irritation and swelling caused by Ulcerative Colitis. These foods include olive oil, coconut oil, probiotic yogurt, and certain omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils. This is helpful news but a healthy diet will need to consider meeting the full nutritional requirements. Your doctor or dietician are great resources to help devise a plan and figure out which foods work for you and provide the nutrients you need in your diet.
Stress and Ulcerative Colitis
While stress is not the cause of ulcerative colitis, stress may cause a flare-up or for the condition to become worse. Speak to your doctor to see if certain forms of exercise, yoga, meditation, counseling or other quiet lifestyle changes can help you reduce your stress and, as a result, be a benefit for your condition.
Enjoy Life – with a Plan
Going out when you have ulcerative colitis may seem daunting. Trips the washroom, for example, may seem like too big of a challenge to deal with. If you are going out somewhere, find out ahead of time where the facilities are located so you don’t have to worry about it should you suddenly need to use them.
Friends and family and your partner should know about your condition so they can understand what it is you’re dealing with and perhaps make you more comfortable when you are experiencing unexpected symptoms and discomfort.
If you are traveling, be sure to research your accommodations and the food that will be available at your destination. It is also a good idea to prepare to travel with your medications. For more information on traveling with medications read our article on Healthy Travel Tips.
[su_box title=”Super Tip” box_color=”#e0f1fa” title_color=”#303030″ radius=”7″]Super Tip: Did you know you can get a Restroom Request Card? Patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can receive a Restroom Request Card and an educational brochure about your condition. This card lets you discreetly let someone know that you have a medical conditions and need access to restricted restrooms when symptoms suddenly arise. For more information and to sign-up: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com/sign-up [/su_box]
While there is no cure – there is treatment and hope. If you have questions about prescription Asacol please contact us.
Further information on Asacol can be found at the following link: Learn More
If you have questions about any of these prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our discreet pharmacy representatives will be happy to answer your questions.
This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation. If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).