Ulcerative colitis treatment

So you have IBD. . .

If you have recently been diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) this could be a scary time in your life. It is normal to be anxious about a recent diagnosis of IBD, but you and your health care team can work together to make you feel better and improve your quality of life. You should not hesitate to ask your health care provider questions.

The following topics help answer questions you might have and to give suggestions on how to manage your life if you have been diagnosed with IBD.

Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

Treatment of ulcerative colitis disease is highly individualized.  Factors that affect your treatment are:

  • Your age
  • Overall health
  • Extent of the disease
  • Your tolerance to specific treatments
  • Your expectations of the disease
  • Your preference of treatment

Generally medication is the first approach at treating ulcerative colitis. The goal of the pharmacological (medication) treatment of ulcerative colitis is to:

  • relieve abdominal pain
  • control inflammation
  • decrease bleeding
  • decrease number of bowel movements
  • correct nutritional deficiencies 

Medications for Ulcerative Colitis

The medications that are used for treating ulcerative colitis are aimed at relieving the symptoms of the disease. Without surgery ulcerative colitis is a chronic (long term) disease. Unfortunately, your use of medications will probably also be chronic and lifelong. There are several different approaches to medicating ulcerative colitis disease.

These are some of the more common medications used to treat symptoms of ulcerative colitis:   


  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • olsalazine sodium (Dipentum)
  • balsalazide disodium (Colazal)
  • mesalamine (Asacol)
  • mesalamine CR (Pentasa)
  • infliximab (Remicade)
  • methotrexate
  • cyclosporine
  • Prednisone
  • Budesonide (Entocort) 
  • Analpram
  • Proctocream
  • Anusol
  • Canasa
  • Cortifoam
  • Proctofoam

Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

Removal of the colon and rectum is the standard treatment for ulcerative colitis and is often considered a cure of the symptoms.   

Types of surgeries:

Ileostomy (or Proctocolectomy) 

Depending on the severity of your Crohn's disease it may be necessary to remove the rectum and the entire colon.  Once the rectum and colon are removed the free end of the small intestine, called the ileum, is attached to the stoma.  Stool will be collected in an ileostomy bag that will need to be emptied periodically.  An ileostomy can be an effective way of treating Crohn's.  It can be an overwhelming change at first, but with time, patients, and good support, you can return to a relatively normal lifestyle.  There are many support groups available for people with ileostomies such as United Ostomies Association of America, Inc.  

Ileoanal reservoir (or J-pouch or Restorative Proctocolectomy) 

An ileonal reservoir is an alternative procedure to a permanent ileostomy. This procedure is popular because it does away with external pouches and allows the patient to have bowel movements. This procedure is completed in two surgeries. First, the colon and rectum are removed and part of the small intestine is used to create an internal pouch to hold stool. While the pouch is healing you will have a temporary ileostomy. Once the pouch has healed, the ileostomy is closed. This pouch is attached to the anus. The muscle of the rectum is left in place, so the stool in the pouch does not leak out of the anus. People who have this surgery are able to control their bowel movements.

Page last updated: 2/13/2017 3:40:50 PM