“Ulcerative Colitis (UC) Symptoms, Types and Causes”
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Therefore, doctors often classify UC according to its location.You may have the following signs and symptoms, depending on which part of the colon is inflamed:
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding — passing small amount of blood with stool
- Urgency to defecate
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Weight loss
- In children, failure to grow
Most people with UC have mild to moderate symptoms. The course of UC may vary, with some people having long periods of remission.
Ulcerative colitis is classified according to how much of your colon is affected. The condition can be mild and limited to the rectum (ulcerative proctitis). Or it can affect additional parts of your colon, generally with more severe symptoms. People who develop UC at a younger age are more likely to have severe symptoms.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have signs and symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain
- Blood in your stool
- Ongoing diarrhea that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications
- Diarrhea that awakens you from sleep
- An unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two
Although ulcerative colitis usually isn’t fatal, it’s a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate but don’t cause UC.One possible cause is an immune system malfunction. When your immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too.Heredity also seems to play a role in that UC is more common in people who have family members with the disease. However, most people with UC don’t have this family history.