What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
The immediate symptoms of ulcerative colitis may be the same as those found in a number of other conditions that affect the bowel, such as viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection. A complete medical history and a thorough physical examination, along with laboratory and diagnostic tests, are necessary to diagnose ulcerative colitis.
The symptoms vary according to the extent of the disease. A quarter of patients only have the disease in the rectum, which means that the symptoms are fairly mild. In one third of patients, the disease also affects the lower part of the large intestine. In the remaining patients, ulcerative colitis affects all of the large intestine. They may be mild or very severe. They may come on suddenly or develop gradually. In some people the severity of the symptoms may vary with the season--worse in winter and less in summer. The symptoms of ulcerative colitis occur in flare-ups. A flare-up may be sudden and severe, producing violent diarrhea, high fever, abdominal pain, and peritonitis (inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity). During such flare-ups, the person is profoundly ill. More often, a flare-up begins gradually, and the person has an urgency to have a bowel movement (defecate), mild cramps in the lower abdomen, and visible blood and mucus in the stool. A flare-up can last days or weeks and can recur at any time.
The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Patients also may suffer fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, and loss of body fluids and nutrients. Severe bleeding can lead to anemia. Sometimes patients also have skin lesions, joint pain, inflammation of the eyes, or liver disorders. No one knows for sure why problems outside the bowel are linked with colitis. Scientists think these complications may occur when the immune system triggers inflammation in other parts of the body. These disorders are usually mild and go away when the colitis is treated.
When the disease is limited to the rectum and the sigmoid colon, the stool may be normal or hard and dry; however, mucus containing large numbers of red and white blood cells is discharged from the rectum during or between bowel movements. General symptoms of illness, such as fever, are mild or absent. If the disease extends farther up the large intestine, the stool is looser, and the person may have 10 to 20 bowel movements a day. Often, the person has severe abdominal cramps and distressing, painful rectal spasms that accompany the urge to defecate. There is no relief at night. The stool may be watery and contain pus, blood, and mucus. Frequently, the stool consists almost entirely of blood and pus. The person also may have a fever and a poor appetite and may lose weight.
More information on inflammatory bowel diseases (ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease)
What are the inflammatory bowel diseases? - Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic disorder that causes an inflamed and swollen digestive tract or intestinal wall.
What causes inflammatory bowel diseases? - The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is not known. Chronic inflammation present in the intestines of persons with both forms of IBD damages the bowel.
What are the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases? - Symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases can include chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramps or pain, fever, and blood or mucus in the stool.
How is inflammatory bowel disease diagnosed? - To make a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease, a doctor must first exclude other possible causes of inflammation.
What're the treatments for inflammatory bowel disease? - Inflammatory bowel disease is treated with medication, exercise, and sometimes, surgery. Treatments for IBD are directed against the inflammation in the bowel.
What're the medications for inflammatory bowel disease? - Medications for inflammatory bowel disease include sulfasalazine, corticosteroids, immunosuppressives, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
What is Crohn's disease? - Crohn's Disease is a chronic illness that causes irritation in the digestive tract. Crohn's disease occurs in the last portion of intestine (ileum).
What types of Crohn's disease are there? - There are five subtypes of Crohn's disease, distinguished by the gastrointestinal area in which the disease occurs.
What causes Crohn's disease? - The cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. There is now evidence of a genetic link as Crohn's frequently shows up in a family group.
What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease? - The symptoms of Crohn's disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.
What are the complications of Crohn's disease? - Common complications of Crohn's disease include the development of an intestinal obstruction, pus-filled pockets of infection, and abnormal connecting channels.
How is Crohn's disease diagnosed? - The diagnosis of Crohn's disease is suspected in patients with fever, abdominal pain and tenderness, diarrhea with or without bleeding, and anal diseases.
What're the treatments for Crohn's disease? - Treatment for Crohn's disease is mainly symptomatic. Medications are very effective at improving the symptoms of Crohn's disease.
What medications cure Crohn's disease? - Medications for Crohn's disease sulfasalazine, Asacol, Pentasa and Dipentum. Mesalamine is useful both to achieve and maintain remission.
What's the surgery for Crohn's disease treatment? - Surgery to remove part of the intestine can help Crohn's disease but cannot cure it. The most used operation in Crohn disease is removing the diseased part of the intestine.
What Crohn's disease diet is suggested? - Diet may have to be restricted based on symptoms or complications of Crohn's disease. No particular food has ever been implicated in causing Crohn's disease.
Crohn's disease in children - Crohn's disease is most often diagnosed in young adulthood. Children facing Crohn's disease have significant self-image issues to deal with.
Crohn's disease and pregnancy women - Women with Crohn's disease who are considering having children can be comforted to know that the vast majority of such pregnancies will result in normal children.
What is ulcerative colitis? - Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of the bowel, that usually affects the distal end of the large intestine and rectum.
What types of ulcerative colitis are there? - Doctors categorize ulcerative colitis by the amount of colon involved. Variability of symptoms reflects differences in the extent of disease and the intensity of inflammation.
What causes ulcerative colitis? - The cause of ulcerative colitis is not known, but heredity and an overactive immune response in the intestine may be contributing factors.
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis? - The symptoms vary according to the extent of the disease. The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea.
What are the complications of ulcerative colitis? - Bleeding, the most common complication of ulcerative colitis, often causes iron deficiency anemia.
How is ulcerative colitis diagnosed? - Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is suspected based on the symptoms that a patient is experiencing. The most important method of diagnosis is endoscopy.
What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis? - Treatment of ulcerative colitis depends on the location and severity of a patient's disease, the presence of complications.
What ulcerative colitis medications are available? - Medications for ulcerative colitis include 5-ASA Compounds, anticholinergic drugs, steroids, and immunosuppressive drugs.
What surgery treats ulcerative colitis? - Surgery for ulcerative colitis involves removal of the entire colon, regardless of whether all or only a portion of the colon is diseased.
Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis - Collagenous colitis and lymphocytic colitis are chronic diseases in which certain kinds of white blood cells infiltrate the lining of the large intestine.