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UC can be unpredictable, which can make it challenging for physicians to determine whether a particular course of treatment has been effective. The main goal of treatment in UC is to reduce the signs and symptoms by regulating the immune system, and to bring about long-term remission. While there is no cure for UC, treatment can help control symptoms so that patients can lead a fuller life. Treatment may include over-the-counter as well as prescription medications, lifestyle changes in stress management, diet and nutrition, and surgery.
Prescription medications typically include anti-inflammatory drugs, immune suppressants and steroids. If these are not effective, (TNF)-alpha inhibitors, or “biologics,” drugs typically given to treat certain types of arthritis, may be used.
Surgery can eliminate UC but it typically means removal of the entire colon or rectum. The surgeon either constructs a pouch at the end of the small intestine to expel waste or the person must get a permanent opening in the abdomen, called a stoma, in which waste is collected into an attached bag.
It’s also important to control stress, as it can worsen symptoms and may trigger flare-ups. Exercise, meditation, yoga and biofeedback, a stress-reduction technique designed to reduce muscle tension and slow heart rate via a feedback machine, are often recommended to help patients reduce stress levels.