What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis, a type
of Inflammatory Bowel Disease that affects the colon (also
known as the large intestine). People with this disease develop
inflammation and ulcers in the colon. Ulcerative colitis may
affect all ages, but usually has two peaks between the ages
of 15-30, then again between the ages of 50-70. Once detected,
it can be treated with medicines.
Many with this disease have periods when the disease
flares up, while at other times, they do have no symptoms
at all. Sometimes, surgical removal of the colon may be necessary.
Patients who have had ulcerative colitis for more than 10
years have an increased risk of developing Colon Cancer and
may need part of their colon removed to prevent the development
The most common symptoms of Ulcerative
Colitis are stomach cramping and bloody Diarrhea.
Eye complications such as Cataracts, Uveitis, corneal ulcerations,
and other problems could occur
Aphthous Ulcers (shallow irritating mouth ulcers) may be seen.
Mild disease -- people have fewer than 5 stools per day, with
only occasional bleeding. Usually, there is not much pain
or tenderness in the abdomen.
Moderate disease -- more frequent bowel movements, usually
with blood in the stools. There may be some abdominal pain
Severe disease -- more than 6 to 12 bloody stool per day,
along with abdominal pain and tenderness. Patients with severe
disease may be dehydrated and anemic.
The cause of ulcerative colitis is still not known.
The disease causes inflammation and ulcers in the colon.
This inflammation is the cause of most of the symptoms associated
with the disease. The inflamed colon has a tendency to bleed
easily, causing abdominal pain, and not allowing the body
to absorb nutrients normally.
Ulcerative colitis usually affects the last part of the colon.
The rectum is involved in majority of the cases, but sometimes
it can cause inflammation throughout the entire colon.