Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the large intestine (colon). This is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the colon and causing inflammation. The inflammation produces small sores called ulcers on the lining of your colon. This will typically begin in the rectum and will then spread upward, ultimately involving the whole colon. After many years of inflammation, ulcerative colitis will increase the risk of developing colon cancer. Colonoscopy is an essential part of the diagnosis and follow up of ulcerative colitis.
Signs & Symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea, usually with blood and mucus
- A sense of urgency where one suddenly needs to have a bowel movement
- Rectal pain or pressure (tenesmus)
- Weight loss
While ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition, there are many medications to help reduce inflammation. In rare cases, surgery is advised.