It is a very common thought and question every colitis sufferer will ask themselves and their doctor but the need for surgery for colitis is not inevitable. Only a small percentage of all those diagnosed with the disease have to ultimately undergo the surgical processes and they can be grouped into different categories depending on the extent of their colitis and how it affects their life.
The standard surgical procedure for colitis will involve the removal of the entire large colon and this will also include the complete removal of the rectum as well. It has to be understood and acknowledged that such an operation is the only permanent cure available for colitis. It is an important point to note where the patient may have been introduced to so called cures, and whilst some may have the effect of reducing symptoms they will never actually cure the disease.
So which people who have been diagnosed with colitis are most at risk of having to consider surgery? The first group will be those who suffer from fulminant colitis, where the extent of the inflammation affects over half of the entire large colon. Whilst remission is possible with such extensive coverage, when a relapse happens the symptoms are severe and there are cases when they do not respond sufficiently to medications. At this stage, the symptoms can appear out of control resulting in the only solution being surgery as a further danger of perforation of the bowel can materialise.
A second grouping of colitis sufferers who could face the prospect of surgery is those with long standing pancolitis or left-sided colitis, which describes the area of the bowel leading down to the rectum. Again, the symptoms may not be able to be brought under control or the sufferer has over a period of time be unable to attain a satisfactory amount of time in remission. A patient who is unfortunate to be diagnosed with this extent of colitis could also be facing an increased risk of developing colon cancers. It is important to understand that the removal of the large colon is very important when precancerous changes have been detected in the colon lining.
In addition to this, a third group that could be faced with the surgical procedures. These are sufferers who have been unable to gain much respite from colitis symptoms. In some cases where the evidence of inflammation is contained to a small area of the colon, there are some patients who just can't bring their symptoms under reasonable control and continue to live in such a state for years. Aspects such as lifestyle, medications that are prescribed and diet have all been trialled and tested but to no avail. In the quest to achieve a reasonable quality of life, many sufferers choose surgery to rid themselves of this debilitating disease for good. Life does change when surgery happens, but at least these patients can look forward to a less painful and more normal and active life ahead.
It can either be a considered decision to opt to have surgery for colitis to bring some kind of normality back to a life for those that have moderate yet continuous symptoms or the decision to have surgery can be forced upon the patient due to symptoms being out of control and unresponsive to the treatment. Whatever the reason for surgery for colitis, it is a life changing event that, whilst bringing its own challenges in the immediate aftermath and requiring the need to alter daily habits for the remaining lifetime, it can offer welcome respite from the painful grip that colitis has over so many sufferers.