medical IDs for ulcerative colitis

Medical IDs for Ulcerative Colitis

The confidence to live with ulcerative colitis

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), 600,000 to 900,000 Americans are living with ulcerative colitis. This chronic condition can start suddenly or begin gradually and worsen over time. There is no cure for ulcerative colitis. However, the condition can be effectively managed with drug therapy, over-the-counter medicines, and diet and lifestyle changes.

As part of a comprehensive treatment plan for ulcerative colitis, a MedicAlert medical ID can ensure that you receive accurate treatment in emergencies and other medical situations.

How MedicAlert protects those living with ulcerative colitis

One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen if there’s an emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with ulcerative colitis, their families and caregivers.

24/7 Emergency Response

Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.

Digital Health Profile

All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.

Emergency Contact Notification

In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.

Patient Instructions

Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.

Pair a medical ID for ulcerative colitis with the protection plan that’s right for you.

What exactly is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is one of the two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Crohn’s disease is the other. While research suggests that 600,000 to 900,000 Americans are living with ulcerative colitis, some studies say the number is closer to 1 million. 

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the immune system has an abnormal reaction to substances in the environment that are normally harmless. This reaction causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the large intestine, which leads to symptoms that can be mild to severe. People living with ulcerative colitis may experience periods of remission—when symptoms disappear for weeks or even years. Unfortunately, symptoms can return, leading to a relapse and the need for further treatment. 

There are four main types of ulcerative colitis: 

Ulcerative proctitis: inflammation occurs in the area closest to the anus (rectum).

Proctosigmoiditis: inflammation occurs in the rectum and the lower end of the colon (sigmoid colon). 

Left-sided colitis (limited or distal colitis): inflammation occurs only on the left side of the colon. 

Pancolitis: inflammation occurs in the entire large intestine. 

Depending on the type of ulcerative colitis, rectal bleeding may be the only sign of the disease or symptoms may range from abdominal pain and diarrhea to fatigue and weight loss.  

What causes ulcerative colitis?

Doctors aren’t sure of the precise cause of ulcerative colitis. However, many experts believe certain risk factors may play a role in causing the disease. This include genes, abnormal immune reactions, microbiome (bacteria, viruses, and fungi), and environment. 

When it comes to genetic factors, research suggest that ulcerative colitis can run in families, meaning certain genes could increase the possibility of developing ulcerative colitis. In the case of immune reactions, the immune system may mistake a harmless environmental substance for a dangerous invader. In mounting an attack against the invader, the immune system may attack healthy cells, causing inflammation in the large intestine. 

While researchers are still studying the relationship between microbiome and people living with inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis, studies have found differences between the microbiomes of people living with the condition and those who are not. 

When it comes to environmental risk factors, researchers are studying how factors outside the body may play a role in causing ulcerative colitis. Studies are aimed at assessing how an individual’s environment interacts with microbiome, the immune system, and genes, and how those interactions increase the likelihood of developing ulcerative colitis.

What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be mild, moderate or severe, and the types of symptoms can vary based on the type of ulcerative colitis. For example, rectal bleeding may be the only sign of ulcerative proctitis, but in all other types of ulcerative colitis, rectal bleeding or bloody diarrhea is accompanied by other symptoms such as abdominal pain and cramping. 

In general, symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Diarrhea, bloody or with pus
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Inability to defecate, despite urgency
  • Rectal bleeding (small amount of blood in your stool) and pain
  • Rectal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Urgency to defecate

Sometimes, symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be so persistent, that a visit to the doctor or ER is warranted. See your doctor or seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms such as:

  • Large amounts of blood in your stool
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe diarrhea that interrupts your sleep or doesn’t respond to medication
  • Unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two

What to engrave on your MedicAlert medical ID for ulcerative colitis:

MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our medical ID products. Engravings on medical IDs for ulcerative colitis should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in an accident or medical emergency, for example:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • NO NSAIDs
  • Current medications
  • Other medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
medical IDs for ulcerative colitis

Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for ulcerative colitis.

What are the potential complications of ulcerative colitis?

In severe cases, ulcerative can cause colon cancer or precancerous cells (dysplasia) that can increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis can also cause severe rectal bleeding, resulting in anemia, a hole in the large intestine (perforation), or toxic megacolon—a life-threatening complication that can cause infection throughout the body, dehydration, and shock. 

Other possible complications of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Inflammation of your eyes, joints, and skin. 
  • Increased risk of blood clots in the arteries and veins. 
  • Osteoporosis (bone loss).

How do you diagnose ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis can be diagnosed through imaging tests, endoscopic procedures, and lab tests. Imaging tests for ulcerative colitis target the abdomen and bowel and include:

  • CT enterography and magnetic resonance (MR) enterography.
  • CT scan. 
  • X-ray.

Endoscopic procedures for ulcerative colitis allow your doctor to examine the entire colon and rectum and include

  • Colonoscopy.
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy. 

Lab tests for ulcerative colitis can check for signs of infection, viruses and parasites, and anemia, as well as certain proteins that could indicate ulcerative colitis. Lab tests for ulcerative colitis include:

  • Blood tests: complete blood count (CBC) and C-reactive protein (CRP).
  • Stool samples: stool culture, fecal calprotectin, and fecal lactoferrin. 

How do you treat, manage, and live with ulcerative colitis?

No two cases of ulcerative are exactly the same, so when treating ulcerative colitis, your healthcare team will focus on your individual symptoms. For mild pain and discomfort, inflammation, and deficiencies, your doctor may prescribe treatments such as antidiarrheals, anti-inflammatories and antispasmodics, as well as pain relievers such as Tylenol, and supplements such as iron. Some treatments are available over-the-counter, while others require a prescription.

When symptoms are moderate to severe, your doctor may prescribe biologics that target the immune system or immunosuppressant drugs to help reduce inflammation. When medications stop working, if cancer is suspected, or if symptoms are life-threatening,  extensive treatment in a hospital setting or surgery will be required. 

Anti-diarrheal medications for ulcerative colitis include Imodium A-D (loperamide) and Pepto Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate). Both can be obtained over-the-counter. 

Anti-inflammatory medications for ulcerative colitis include corticosteroids, such as prednisone and budesonide, and 5-aminosalicylates such as sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), mesalamine (Asacol HD, Delzicol, others), balsalazide (Colazal) and olsalazine (Dipentum). These medications require a prescription. 

Antispasmodic medications for ulcerative colitis include, but are not limited to Buscopan (Hyoscine butylbromide), Bentyl (Dicyclomine), and Mebeverine (Colofac, Duspamen and Duspatalin). 

Biologics for ulcerative colitis include, but are not limited to Stelara, Entyvio, and Humira. 

Immunosuppressant drugs for ulcerative colitis include Azathioprine (Azasan, Imuran) and mercaptopurine (Purinethol, Purixan), Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune), and Tofacitinib (Xeljanz).

Surgery for ulcerative colitis (proctocolectomy) involves removing the entire colon and rectum. Depending on the type of proctocolectomy, you may or may not need an ostomy pouch, which is worn outside the body to collect waste. 

For individuals that do not require surgery, certain lifestyle changes may help control ulcerative colitis symptoms and extend the time between flare-ups. Examples include:

  • Avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen.
  • Eating five or six small meals a day.
  • Eliminating alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated drinks from your diet. 
  • Increasing water intake.
  • Limiting stress.  
  • Limiting dairy.
  • Exercising daily.

How medical IDs  for ulcerative colitis combined with MedicAlert  Membership provide peace of mind

Hundreds of thousands of people living with ulcerative colitis seek emergency services each year to treat flare-ups or other symptoms associated with the disease. Wearing a medical ID for ulcerative colitis can help protect you in these emergency situations. Wearing a MedicAlert medical ID for ulcerative colitis can let emergency responders, doctors and hospital staff know that you are living with the disease. This will ensure that certain drugs that can aggravate your condition, such as NSAIDs, can be avoided.

If you are living with ulcerative colitis, our medical IDs become even more valuable to your care when paired with a MedicAlert protection plan. For people living with ulcerative colitis, a MedicAlert protection plan can help ensure fast, accurate treatment by providing your full health profile to ER doctors and staff, your designated physician’s information, extensive details about your treatment plan, emergency contact information, and any other detailed information important to your care.

  • We’re your voice:  If you can’t speak for yourself due to a medical emergency, your ID will speak for you – informing others about your ulcerative colitis and any medications you’re taking.

  • 24/7 emergency protection:  In an emergency, the MedicAlert team will relay all of your critical medical information to first responders, no matter where or when your emergency happens.

  • Always connected:  You should never be alone in an emergency. That’s why MedicAlert will reach out to your designated contacts if you are unable to do so.

  • Live with peace of mind and confidence:  MedicAlert will be there for you every step of the way. You’ll have the confidence and freedom to live your life with ulcerative colitis, knowing we’ve got you covered. 
DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. The information in this article is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.