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Ulcerative Colitis in New Jersey

The Digestive Health & Nutrition Center has two convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey where you can receive the exceptional care you deserve. Dr. Angela Merlo, M.D. provides patients with Ulcerative Colitis the exceptional care they deserve. 

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) characterized by recurring episodes of inflammation of the innermost lining of the rectum and colon.  The disease affects the rectum (procitis) and may extend up the colon in a continuous manner involving some or all of the colon. Affected individuals usually present with diarrhea that may be associated with blood and mucus. Symptoms range from mild to severe with a variable course so that long periods of remission can occur. Affected individuals may experience systemic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, weight loss and symptoms of iron deficiency anemia depending on the severity of the intestinal disease.  Sometimes Ulcerative Colitis is associated with specific maladies outside the intestine including the eye, skin, musculoskeletal and biliary systems.

The diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis requires a detailed medical history, physical examination, specific laboratory tests and colonoscopy with biopsies.

Ulcerative Colitis can be debilitating, and may cause potentially fatal complications. Although no known cure exists, modern treatment can significantly minimize symptoms and even result in long-term remission.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Patients may experience the following symptoms depending on where the inflammation is in the colon:

  • Diarrhea that may contain pus or blood
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Rectal pain and bleeding
  • Powerful and sudden urges to defecate
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation despite urgency
  • Stunted growth in children

What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?

The cause of Ulcerative Colitis is not known but immune system dysfunction is thought to play an important role.  There is no evidence that anxiety or stress cause Ulcerative Colitis but these issues are known to worsen symptoms. Symptoms can be so disruptive of daily activities that affected individuals feel stressed and anxious. Many patients find comfort in having a dedicated specialist like Dr. Merlo who they trust for provide the best personal care possible.

What Treatments are Available?

Dr. Merlo incorporates proper nutritional counseling in every treatment plan that is essential to restore good health with minimal prescription medication. Screening colonoscopy (LINK) at regular intervals is crucial as the risk of developing of colon cancer increases with the duration of the disease.  There are a variety of new medications available that impact the disease. Speak to Dr. Merlo about which one is right for you.

If you have symptoms, or have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, contact the Digestive Health & Nutrition Center with convenient locations in Lawrenceville and Princeton, New Jersey for an appointment with Dr. Merlo.