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Ulcerative Colitis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

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 11/14/2012
Medical Editor:

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