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Ulcerative Colitis (cont.)

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include the following:

  • Frequent loose bowel movements with or without blood
  • Urgency to have a bowel movement (tenemus) and bowel incontinence (loss of bowel control)
  • Lower abdominal discomfort or cramps
  • Fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite
  • Weight loss with continuing diarrhea
  • Anemia due to bleeding with bowel movements

Because inflammatory bowel disease may be caused by a defect in the immune response system, other body organs may be involved, including for example:

When to Seek Medical Care for Ulcerative Colitis

Tell a health care professional about any persistent changes in bowel habits. If the patient is already under treatment for inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, contact a doctor if the patient experiences any prolonged changes in the symptoms or passes blood in the stools.

Also seek medical care if any of these conditions are associated with colitis:

  • Blood or mucus in your stool (Blood is never normal in a bowel movement. While it may be due a relatively simple cause like hemorrhoids, it is important to make certain that the bleeding is not due to inflammatory bowel disease, tumor or another potentially life-threatening cause.)
  • Diarrhea lasting more than three days
  • Severe abdominal or rectal pain
  • Signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, little or no urination
  • Frequent loose bowel movements during pregnancy
  • Progressively looser bowel movements and appearance of other symptoms such as joint pain, vision changes and increased weakness
  • Diarrhea with fever

Seek emergency medical attention if the following situations occur:

  • Abdominal pain with fever
  • Bloody bowel movements
  • Severe abdominal pain even if you already have the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Progression or appearance of new symptoms over a few hours
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2016
Medical Editor:

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