Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation in the lining of the rectum and colon (large intestine). Ulcerative colitis can cause a variety of symptoms, including abdominal pain, cramping, blood in the stool, an urgent need for bowel movements, and persistent diarrhea. The disease similarly affects both men and women, but females may face additional challenges. The symptoms bring about unique changes in women, causing various other issues in the body.
Let us learn some facts about how ulcerative colitis can impact women.
- Menstrual Period
The menstrual cycle of women may get affected by ulcerative colitis in numerous ways. According to the study, IBD gets worse in women during this period. It may also increase the risk of various premenstrual symptoms like headache, abdominal pain, bloating, more frequent bowel movements, and other menstrual-related pain. The exact reason for women experiencing such issues is still unknown, but according to the experts, these may be caused by hormonal changes, stress, and inadequate nutrition.
- Sexual Dysfunction
The active symptoms of ulcerative colitis may affect the person’s sexual health. Sexual dysfunction may include decreased sexual desire, pain during sex, dissatisfaction, etc. The symptoms stop the person from having an intimate relationship with their partner and affect their mental and emotional health as well. Both men and women experience the symptom, but according to the studies, 45%–60% of women with IBD experience sexual dysfunction, whereas 15%–25% of men suffer from such issues. Women with ulcerative colitis may experience pain during intercourse due to severe inflammation. In many cases, they feel too tired to have sex with their partners, which affects their relationship.
- Fertility and Pregnancy Issues
A woman suffering from UC may still possess the ability to get pregnant unless there is scar tissue from surgery. The scar tissue may block the fallopian tubes and cause difficulty in pregnancy. Also, if the woman had gone through j-pouch surgery, where the colon is removed with a temporary pouch to collect the stool, her fertility rate may be reduced. The woman with UC should plan her pregnancy very carefully. Many of them try to conceive through in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but the success rate is low. The best suggestion for the woman suffering from UC is to wait for remission. Getting pregnant with the active symptoms of UC may worsen them. It is always advisable to consult with your gynecologist for the right guidance.
It is also a chronic disease that causes the weakening of bone tissues. Women suffering from UC or other forms of IBD may increase their chances of having osteoporosis. This can happen due to various reasons, such as malnourishment, taking prednisone during flare-ups, etc. The other factors may include reducing the milk products in the diet due to sensitive digestion. This may cause a calcium deficiency in the person, leading to weak bones. Women suffering from UC always feel tired and less energetic. Due to this, they avoid exercise, which increases the risk of osteoporosis.
A woman should never take ulcerative colitis symptoms lightly as she may suffer from various health challenges. Take advice from your healthcare provider, especially if you are planning to get pregnant. Visit icare4u for more information.