What is it?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation of the large intestine (the colon) and the rectum. The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but genetic and environmental factors are involved. The understood mechanism includes the overactivation of the immune system. The immune system "attacks" the gastrointestinal tract, causing persistent inflammation and damage. Ulcerative colitis increases the risk of colon cancer; hence early testing for cancer is particularly important in these patients. Additional complications of ulcerative colitis include intestinal bleeding, infections, and scarring of the colon.

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Ulcerative Colitis (IBD) Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Ulcerative Pancolitis
- Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis
- Ulcerative Ileocolitis

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis may include:
- Persistent diarrhea.
- Abdominal Pain.
- Bloody stool or rectal bleeding.
- Rectal pain.
- Weight loss.
- Chronic Fatigue.
- Fever.
Other additional symptoms that are related to ulcerative colitis include:
- Joints swelling and joints pain.
- Skin problems.
- Eye inflammation.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made by questioning and investigating the medical history and physical examination to provide additional information and exclude other diseases. Further tests include:
- Stool sampling test.
- Endoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the mouth.
- Colonoscopy – a procedure that allows looking at the rectum, large intestine (colon), and small intestine and taking a biopsy, using a special camera inserted through the rectum.
- CT or MRI scans.
- Blood testing.

Treatment

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition. Treatment’s primary goal is to reduce the inflammation and thus ease the symptoms. Treatment includes medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, antibiotics, and pain relievers. In some cases, surgery is indicated, in which the large intestine or parts of it are removed. Removing the entire large intestine may terminate the disease; however, it is an extensive procedure, and not all patients require it.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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