What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Chrohn's Image

A serious, chronic, inflammatory disease of the colon characterized by ulceration and episodes of bloody diarrhea. The ulcerated areas are inflamed and may form abscesses in the lining of the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis may be confused with some bacterial infections of the colon. It may occur at any age and in both sexes, but is most common in women between ages 15 and 40.

What are the signs of Ulcerative Colitis?

Early symptoms include:

During an acute attack:

What causes Ulcerative Colitis?

The causes of UC are largely unknown. There is some evidence that it may be related to genetic, infectious, immunologic and psychologic factors which have all been suggested.




What are the possible complications of having Ulcerative Colitis?

How is ulcerative colitis treated?

When seen by a specialist, typically assessment begins with diagnostic tests which may include laboratory stool and blood studies, x-ray of the colon (barium enema), sigmoidoscopy (method of examining the rectum and lower part of the colon with an optical instrument with a lighted tip), and biopsy of the colon lining.

Treatment is then determined by severity and extent of inflammation, response to previous treatments, and impact of illness on you. Methods may include medications, surgery to remove the diseased colon and dietary restrictions.

Hospitalization may be necessary during the worst episodes.

Conservative management


Medical Management

In select cases, it may be recommended to undergo surgery to remove the diseased colon if:

When should I contact my doctor/see the specialist?

If you or a family member has diagnosed ulcerative colitis and also new symptoms of: