Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis affects only the colon and rectum. Crohn's can affect any part of the digestive tract. To learn more about Crohn's disease, see the topic Crohn's Disease.
The cause of ulcerative colitis is uncertain. Researchers believe that the body'simmune system reacts
to a virus or bacteria, causing ongoing inflammation in the intestinal wall.
Although UC is considered to be a problem with the immune system, some researchers believe that the immune reaction may be the result, not the cause, of ulcerative colitis.
Because inflammatory bowel disease may be caused by a defect in the immune response system, other body organs may be involved, including for example:
1. Vision problems or eye pain
2. Joint problems
3. Neck or lower back pain
4. Skin rashes
5. Liver and bile duct disease
6. Kidney problem
1. Diarrhea. or rectal urgency. Some people may have diarrhea. 10 to 20 times a day. The urge
to go to the bathroom may wake you up at night.
2. Rectal bleeding. The disease usually causes bloody diarrhea. and mucus. You also may have rectal pain and an urgent need to empty your bowels.
3. Belly pain, often described as cramping. Your belly may be sore when touched.
4. Constipation. This symptom may develop depending on what part of the colon is affected. Constipation is much less common than diarrhea.
5. Loss of appetite.
6. Fever. In severe cases, fever or other symptoms that affect the entire body may develop.
7. Weight loss. Ongoing symptoms, such as diarrhea, can lead to weight loss.
8. Too few red blood cells (anemia). Some people get anemia because of low iron levels caused by bloody stools or intestinal inflammation.
9. Stool sample testing to look for blood, infection, and white blood cells.
Ulcerative colitis affects everyone differently. Your doctor will help you find treatments that reduce
your symptoms and help you avoid new flare-ups.
If your symptoms are mild, you may only need to use over-the- counter medicines for diarrhea. (such as Imodium). Talk to your doctor before you take these medicines.
Many people need prescription medicines, such as aminosalicylates, steroid medicines, or other medicines that reduce the body's immune response. These medicines can stop or reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Some people find that certain foods make their symptoms worse. If this happens to you, it makes sense to not eat those foods. But be sure to eat a healthy, varied diet to keep your weight up and to stay strong.
If you have severe symptoms and medicines don't help, you may need surgery to remove your colon. Removing the colon cures ulcerative colitis. It also prevents colon cancer.
1. Fever over 101°F (38.3°C) or shaking chills.
2. Lightheadedness, passing out, or rapid heart rate.
3. Stools that are almost always bloody.
4. Severe dehydration, such as passing little or no urine for 12 or more hours.
5. Severe belly pain with or without bloating.
6. Pus draining from the area around theanus or pain and swelling in the anal area.
7. Repeated vomiting.
8. Not passing any stools or gas.
You cannot prevent ulcerative colitis, because the cause is unknown.