Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel condition that causes ulcers and inflammation in the digestive tract. It affects the inner lining of the colon and rectum. The large intestine is the colon, and the rectum is the end of the bowel.
Ulcerative colitis can make you weak and, in some instances, can lead to life-threatening difficulties. It has no known cure, but treatments can reduce the symptoms of the disease to have a long-term remission.
Ulcerative colitis symptoms
The symptom depends on the severity of the inflammation in the rectum or colon, which can significantly impact day-to-day life. But the primary signs of ulcerative colitis are:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Diarrhea with mucus, pus, or blood
- Stomach pain
People might go for weeks or months with no or mild symptoms, leading to a period where the symptoms flare up.
During flare-ups, people tend to develop:
- Swollen and painful joints
- Mouth ulcers
- Areas of red, swollen, and painful skins
- Red eyes with irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
- High temperature
- Blood in stools
Ulcerative colitis causes
It’s an autoimmune condition where the human immune system mistakes the harmless bacteria inside the colon as foreign and attacks the colon tissues, which leads to inflammation. For ulcers, experts believe the reason is a combination of environmental factors and genetics.
Ulcerative colitis treatment
The treatments, mostly medicines, aim to relieve symptoms in case of a flare up and prevent them from returning. If medicines don’t do the work of controlling your symptoms, a doctor might suggest surgery to remove the colon.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022