Ulcerative Colitis


Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea. Like Crohn's disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications.

Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon, unlike Crohn's disease, which occurs in patches anywhere in the digestive tract and often spreads deep into the layers of affected tissues.

There's no known cure for ulcerative colitis, but therapies are available that may dramatically reduce the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis and even bring about a long-term remission.

Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. For these reasons, doctors often classify ulcerative colitis according to its location. Here are the signs and symptoms that may accompany ulcerative colitis, depending on its classification:

The course of ulcerative colitis varies, with periods of acute illness often alternating with periods of remission. But over time, the severity of the disease usually remains the same. Only a small percentage of people with a milder condition, such as ulcerative proctitis, go on to develop more severe signs and symptoms.