Ulcerative Colitis

(UC; Colitis, Ulcerative)
  • Definition

    Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) , which causes:
    • Inflammation
    • Ulcers
    • Bleeding in the lining of the colon and rectum
    Ulcerative Colitis
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  • Causes

    The exact cause is unknown. A virus or bacteria may cause the immune system to overreact and damage the colon and rectum.
  • Risk Factors

    Having a family member with IBD (includes UC and Crohn's disease ) may increase your risk of developing UC.
  • Symptoms

    Symptoms may include:
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal cramps and pain
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Anemia
    • Weight loss
    • Fatigue, weakness
    • Nausea
    • Fever
  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may order tests, such as:
  • Treatment

    Treatment options may include:
    Dietary Changes
    Your doctor may recommend that you avoid certain foods that trigger symptoms, such as:
    Talk to your doctor to learn more about the types of foods that you should avoid.
    Medications
    There are a range of medicines that may be prescribed, such as:
    • Aminosalicylate medicines (such as, sulfasalazine, mesalamine, olsalazine, balsalazide disodium)
    • Steroid anti-inflammatory medicines (such as, prednisone, methylprednisolone, budesonide)
    • Immune modifier medicines (such as, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, cyclosporine)
    • Biological agents (such as, infliximab, adalimumab)
    Surgery
    Medicine may not cure very severe UC. In some cases, your doctor may suggest surgery . This can involve having all or part of the colon removed. Surgery may also be done because UC increases your risk of colon cancer .
    Over time, colitis that is not treated or that does not respond to treatment can lead to:
    If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
  • Prevention

    There are no guidelines for preventing this condition.
  • RESOURCES

    American Gastroenterological Society http://www.gastro.org/

    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America http://www.ccfa.org/

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology http://www.cag-acg.org/

    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada http://www.ccfc.ca

    References

    Richman S, Schub T. Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center. Available at: www.ebscohost.com/pointOfCare/nrc-about . Updated August 2012. Accessed September 5, 2012.

    Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us . Updated September 2, 2012. Accessed September 5, 2012.

    What is ulcerative colitis? Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at: www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-ulcerative-colitis/ . Accessed September 5, 2012.

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