2 Ulcerative ColitisUlcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine (colon).It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes characteristic ulcers, or open sores. The main symptom of active disease is usually constant diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset. IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a troublesome, but much less serious, condition.
3 Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms The symptoms vary in severity and may start slowly or suddenly. About half of people only have mild symptoms. Others have more severe attacks that occur more often. Many factors can lead to attacks, including respiratory infections or physical stress.Abdominal pain and crampingAbdominal sounds (a gurgling or splashing sound heard over the intestine)Blood and pus in the stoolsDiarrhea, from only a few episodes to very oftenFeverTenesmus (rectal pain)Weight lossChildren's growth may slow.
4 Ulcerative Colitis Signs and tests Colonoscopy with biopsy is generally used to diagnose ulcerative colitis.Colonoscopy is also used to screen people with ulcerative colitis for colon cancer. Ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer.
5 Ulcerative Colitis Treatments: Both medications and surgery have been used to treat ulcerative colitis. However, surgery is reserved for those with severe inflammation and life-threatening complications. There is no medication that can cure ulcerative colitis. Patients with ulcerative colitis will typically experience periods of relapse (worsening of inflammation) followed by periods of remission (resolution of inflammation) lasting months to years. During relapses, symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding worsen. During remissions, these symptoms subside. Remissions usually occur because of treatment with medications or surgery, but occasionally they occur spontaneously, that is, without any treatment.
6 Ulcerative Colitis Causes, incidence, and risk factors The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. People with this condition have problems with the immune system, but it is not clear whether immune problems cause this illness. Although stress and certain foods can trigger symptoms, they do not cause ulcerative colitis.Ulcerative colitis may affect any age group, although there are peaks at ages and then again at agesThe disease usually begins in the rectal area, and may involve the entire large intestine over time.Risk factors include a family history of ulcerative colitis, or Jewish ancestry.