Ulcerative Colitis (UC; Colitis, Ulcerative)
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a severe, chronic
inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammation Ulcers Bleeding in the lining of the colon and rectum Ulcerative Colitis
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.
The cause of ulcerative colitis is not known. Inflammatory bowel diseases (UC and
) seem to run in some families. Some think that a virus or bacteria causes the immune system to overreact and damage the colon and rectum.
Having family members with inflammatory bowel disease is the only risk factor.
These factors increase your chance of developing UC. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Diarrhea Abdominal cramps and pain Rectal bleeding Anemia Weight loss Fatigue, weakness Nausea Fever
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include:
—injection of fluid into the rectum that makes your colon show up on an x-ray so the doctor can see abnormal spots in your colon
—a thin, lighted tube inserted into the rectum to examine the rectum and the lower colon
—a thin, lighted tube inserted through the rectum and into the colon to examine the lining of the colon
—removal of a sample of colon tissue for testing (may be performed as part of a flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy)
Talk to your doctor to learn more about what foods to avoid, since this may be different for each person.
Medication may not cure very severe UC. In some cases, your doctor may suggest
. This can involve having all or part of the colon removed. Surgery may also be done because UC increases your risk of
Over time, colitis that is not treated or does not respond to treatment can lead to:
If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, follow your doctor's
There are no guidelines for preventing ulcerative colitis.
About ulcerative colitis and proctitis. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at:
Accessed July 9, 2008.
Goroll AH, Mulley AG, Mulley AG Jr.
Primary Care Medicine
. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000.
Ulcerative colitis. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at:
Accessed July 9, 2008.
Ulcerative colitis patient education resources. Digestive Health Initiative. American Gastroenterological Society website. Available at:
. Accessed July 9, 2008.
Yamada T, Alpers DH.
Textbook of Gastroenterology
. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2003.
Last reviewed February 2009 by
Jill D. Landis, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a
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EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.