Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and sores in the lining of the colon and rectum. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, nausea and weight loss, according to the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Patients with ulcerative colitis have problems absorbing nutrients and might suffer from vitamin B12 deficiency, which is treated with B12 injections.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency and Ulcerative Colitis
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin necessary for the manufacture of healthy red blood cells, DNA synthesis and maintenance of a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B12 is absorbed in the stomach and intestines with the help of a protein known as intrinsic factor. Ulcerative colitis inhibits the proper absorption of vitamin B12, leading to deficiency in the vitamin.
Vitamin B12 Shots Administration
Vitamin B12 is administered as a deep intramuscular injection. The injection is normally done at the doctor’s office but some patients are taught to inject themselves. B12 shots are administered every day to patients with severe symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency. Patients with ulcerative colitis and vitamin B12 deficiency require lifelong vitamin B12 shots. Oral vitamin B12 tablets are not used in patients with ulcerative colitis because of problems with absorption.
Side Effects of Vitamin B12 Shots
Vitamin B12 shots can cause side effects such as redness, swelling and pain at the injection site. Patients who experience unusual warmth and foul discharge at the injection site should seek medical attention. Patients also might experience headache, weakness, dizziness, joint pain and upset stomach.
Diets for Ulcerative Colitis
Patients with ulcerative colitis should consume protein-rich foods. Protein enables the repair of damaged tissues in the lining of the colon and rectum. Patients should consume low-fat protein foods because fatty protein foods worsen diarrhea, and should avoid high-fiber foods such as beans, bran, nuts, seeds and popcorn, which stimulate the colon and increase diarrhea. Patients should increase fluid intake to compensate for fluids lost through diarrhea and vomiting.