Ulcerative colitis: Introduction
Ulcerative colitis is one type of several types of inflammatory bowel disease, which include Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, ongoing disease that causes inflammation of the large intestine and/or rectum in the lower gastrointestinal tract. The hallmarks of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea due to inflammation and the development of open sores (ulcers) in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Other symptoms of ulcerative colitis include abdominal cramping, nausea, fever, skin ulcers, loss of appetite, weight loss, joint pain, and fatigue.
People with ulcerative colitis may also develop anemia due to loss of blood. Ulcerative colitis can also lead to dehydration and malnourishment due to the loss of fluids and nutrients that occurs with ongoing or severe diarrhea. Serious complications of ulcerative colitis include hemorrhage, colon rupture, and the possible development of colon cancer. However, some people with ulcerative colitis may experience very mild symptoms. For more information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
It is not known what causes ulcerative colitis, but it may be the result of an over-reactive immune response to normal bacteria and other substances in the gastrointestinal tract. There may also be a familial connection with ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. About 20% of people with ulcerative colitis have a family member with the disease or with Crohn's disease.
Ulcerative colitis can occur in both sexes and in any age group but most often begins in people between 15 and 30 years of age. Ulcerative colitis is not caused by stress or by eating certain foods, although stress and certain food sensitivities may trigger or aggravate symptoms.
Making a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is often done by a specialist called a gastroenterologist. The process begins with taking a thorough personal and family medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination.
It may also include doing blood tests and other tests that check for bacteria, viruses, parasites and blood in stool. Other tests include a complete blood count, which can help reveal if a person has developed anemia and show if an inflammatory process is occurring.
Making a diagnosis also includes performing special imaging tests to see a picture of the insides of the intestines and look for areas of inflammation. Tests may include an upper GI series. This test takes X-ray pictures of the small intestine after drinking barium, a solution that helps to illuminate abnormalities in the GI tract.
CT scan and a variety of tests using video imaging technology may also be done to diagnose ulcerative colitis and rule-out other similar diseases, such as Crohn's disease. This includes a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. These tests involve passing a small flexible tube fitted with a camera through the anus into the colon to look for areas of inflammation. During this procedure, samples of inflamed tissue are taken to be examined under a microscope to confirm a diagnosis.
A diagnosis of the ulcerative colitis may be missed or delayed because symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of ulcerative colitis.
Although there is no cure, ulcerative colitis is treatable and can often be controlled to effectively reduce symptoms and bring on periods of symptom-free remission. This can be achieved by using a variety of medications, depending on the type and severity of the condition and the individual case. Dietary and lifestyle changes can also be helpful. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of ulcerative colitis. ...more »
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, ongoing disease of the lower digestive or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The hallmarks of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea due to inflammation and the development of open sores (ulcers) in the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
Ulcerative colitis is one of several types of inflammatory bowel disease that include Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Like other inflammatory bowel diseases, ulcerative colitis can seriously affect a person's ability to work, attend school, travel or complete other normal activities of daily living. Serious complications of the ulcerative colitis include massive bleeding, colon rupture, and the possible development of colon cancer. About 25%-40% of people with ulcerative colitis eventually have their colons removed because of these complications. Complications may also include the development of arthritis, inflammation of the eye, liver disease, and osteoporosis. On the other hand, about half of people with ulcerative colitis experience only mild symptoms.
There may be a familial connection with ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases. About 20% of people with ulcerative colitis have a family member with the disease or with Crohn's disease. Ulcerative colitis can occur in any age group, but most often begins in people between 15 and 30 years of age. It occurs less often in people 50 and 70 years of age, but seems to affect men and women equally. Other people with a higher risk of developing the disease in include those of Jewish descent and Caucasians. ...more »
Ulcerative colitis: Symptoms
The severity and types of symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from person to person and can run the gamut from very mild to severe. For some people, the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can seriously affect a person's ability to participate in normal activities of daily living. Typical symptoms of ulcerative colitis include bloody diarrhea and abdominal ...more symptoms »
Ulcerative colitis: Treatments
There is currently no cure for ulcerative colitis, but there are treatments that can help control the disease. The overall treatment goal for people living with ulcerative colitis is to control symptoms to a degree that allows them to feel better and live the most normal, healthy, and active lives as possible. This includes inducing and maintaining the ...more treatments »
Ulcerative colitis: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of ulcerative colitis may missed or delayed because its symptoms may be mistaken for symptoms of such conditions as gastroenteritis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, food poisoning, appendicitis, pancreatitis, or diverticulosis. In addition, sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between a diagnosis of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis
- Recurring attacks of symptoms varying in intensity and frequency
- Symptoms of severe attacks:
- more symptoms...»
See full list of 40
symptoms of Ulcerative colitis
Treatments for Ulcerative colitis
See full list of 35
treatments for Ulcerative colitis
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Ulcerative colitis:
- Colon & Rectal Cancer: Home Testing
- Food Allergies & Intolerances: Home Testing:
Wrongly Diagnosed with Ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis: Related Patient Stories
Ulcerative colitis: Deaths
Read more about Deaths and Ulcerative colitis.
Alternative Treatments for Ulcerative colitis
Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Ulcerative colitis may include:
Curable Types of Ulcerative colitis
Possibly curable types of Ulcerative colitis include:
Rare Types of Ulcerative colitis:
Rare types of Ulcerative colitis include:
- Celiac disease associated ulcerative colitis
- Dermatitis hepetiformis associated ulcerative colitis
- Systemic and discoid lupus associated ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis associated ulcerative colitis
- Ankylosing spondylitis associated ulcerative colitis
- Scleroderma associated ulcerative colitis
- Sjogren's disease associated ulcerative colitis
- more types...»
Diagnostic Tests for Ulcerative colitis
Read more about tests for Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis: Complications
Review possible medical complications related to Ulcerative colitis:
Causes of Ulcerative colitis
See full list of 6
causes of Ulcerative colitis
More information about causes of Ulcerative colitis:
Disease Topics Related To Ulcerative colitis
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Ulcerative colitis:
Ulcerative colitis: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Ulcerative colitis
Chronic digestive conditions often misdiagnosed: When diagnosing chronic symptoms
of the digestive tract, there are a variety of conditions that may be misdiagnosed.
The best known, ...read more »
Intestinal bacteria disorder may be hidden cause: One of the lesser known causes of diarrhea
is an imbalance of bacterial in the gut, sometimes called intestinal imbalance.
The digestive...read more »
Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely
to cause some level of diarrhea in patients.
The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria,
but can also kill the ...read more »
Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down
with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning).
In fact, it's more likely to be an ...read more »
Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the
more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed
(it can, of course,...read more »
Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive
conditions is celiac disease, a malabsorption disorder...read more »
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis).
See ...read more »
Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent
difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases.
Some of the better known...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Hospitals & Clinics: Ulcerative colitis
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Ulcerative colitis:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Ulcerative colitis,
on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Ulcerative colitis: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Ulcerative colitis
Medical research articles related to Ulcerative colitis include:
Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database
Ulcerative colitis: Animations
More Ulcerative colitis animations & videos
Prognosis for Ulcerative colitis
Prognosis for Ulcerative colitis:
Patients with ulcerative colitis usually have an intermittent course, with periods of disease inactivity alternating with "flares" of disease. Patients with proctitis or left-sided colitis usually have a more benign course: only 15% progress proximally with their disease, and up to 20% can have sustained remission in the absence of any therapy. Patients with more extensive disease are less likely to sustain remission, but the rate of remission is independent of the severity of disease.
More about prognosis of Ulcerative colitis
Research about Ulcerative colitis
Visit our research pages for current research about Ulcerative colitis treatments.
Clinical Trials for Ulcerative colitis
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Ulcerative colitis include:
See full list of 71
Clinical Trials for Ulcerative colitis
Statistics for Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis: Broader Related Topics
Types of Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis Message Boards
Related forums and medical stories:
User Interactive Forums
Read about other experiences, ask a question about Ulcerative colitis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:
Article Excerpts about Ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes
inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the top layers of the lining of
the large intestine. The inflammation usually occurs in the rectum and
lower part of the colon, but it may affect the entire colon. Ulcerative
colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the lower section,
called the ileum. Ulcerative colitis may also be called colitis, ileitis,
(Source: excerpt from Ulcerative Colitis: NIDDK)
Definitions of Ulcerative colitis:
Chronic, recurrent ulceration of the colon mucosa and submucosa.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
A serious chronic inflammatory disease of the large intestine and rectum characterized by recurrent episodes of abdominal pain and fever and chills and profuse diarrhea
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Ulcerative colitis as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
Contents for Ulcerative colitis:
User Surveys and Discussion Forums
» Next page: What is Ulcerative colitis?
Medical Tools & Articles:
Tools & Services:
Forums & Message Boards
- Ask or answer a question at the Boards: