Symptoms and Signs of Ulcerative Colitis

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Medically Reviewed on 1/31/2022

Doctor's Notes on Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the colon (large bowel or large intestine). Signs and symptoms include inflammation of colon tissue, and it can produce sores and ulcers. It is usually limited to the colon and rarely affects the small intestine, except for the terminal ileum. Common signs and symptoms include

Occasionally, other body organs may be involved (for example, eye problems, joint problems, neck or back pain, skin rashes, liver and bile duct problems, and/or kidney problems).

The cause of ulcerative colitis is not known. Risk factors include

What Are the Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis?

There is no medical treatment cure for ulcerative colitis. Treatments are individualized and designed to give symptom relief and long-term remission in some. However, some surgical procedures may cure the disease, but it is not guaranteed. The following are some of the treatments that may be used alone or in combination:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Corticosteroids
    • Oral 5-aminosalicylates
  • Immune system suppressors
  • Biologics
  • Other symptom-reducing medications
  • Nutrition (diet) therapy
  • Surgery may eliminate ulcerative colitis in some individuals.
    • Removal of a diseased portion of the GI tract with reconnection
    • Ileoanal anastomosis (does not require a waste collection bag)
    • Removal of your entire colon and rectum
    • Ileal stoma (requires a bag to collect waste)

You and your doctors may decide what treatments are best for your condition.

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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.