Ulcers

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is often limited to the rectum and lower colon but can involve the entire colon.  Ulcerative Colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body’s immune system, in which the cells and proteins that normally make up the immune system to protect you from infection, mistake food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine as foreign or invading substances. When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.

It is important to understand the difference between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.  Crohn’s Disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but Ulcerative Colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s Disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, Ulcerative Colitis only affects the lining of the colon. Although both Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), they should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), since that is a disorder which affects the muscle contractions of the colon and is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.

Peptic Ulcer Disease

Ulcers, the basis of peptic ulcer disease, are erosions (wearing away or corrosion) in the lining of the stomach or duodenum. (The duodenum is the first part of the small intestines, which connects to the stomach.) An ulcer in the stomach is called a gastric ulcer. An ulcer in the duodenum is called a duodenal ulcer. Together, ulcers of the stomach and duodenum are referred to as peptic ulcers and a person who has peptic ulcers is said to have peptic ulcer disease.

Most cases of peptic ulcer disease involve ulcers that are erosions of the first layer of the inner lining. If the hole goes all the way through, this is called a perforation of the intestinal lining. This can cause shock and is a medical emergency.