About Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and auto-immune condition of the large intestine (colon) that causes long-lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract.  The body’s immune system is believed to react abnormally to the bacteria in the digestive tract.  Colitis is an auto-immune and inflammatory condition of the large intestine (colon).  It may have been preceded by Irritable Bowel Syndrome that progressed to this more severe stage.

Like Crohn’s disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. Because ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition, symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.

Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Frequent bowel movements that may or may not be accompanied by blood and mucous in the stool.
  • Ulceration of the colon
  • Anemia
  • Fistulas
  • Intestinal cramps and pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Weight loss
  • Gas and bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Skin lesions

 

Ulcerative colitis typically affects the inner lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon, unlike Crohn’s disease, which can exist anywhere in the digestive tract and often spreads into the affected tissues deeply.  It usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30, and less frequently between 50 and 70 years of age, but it can occur at any age. It affects men and women equally and appears to run in families, with reports of up to 20 percent of people with ulcerative colitis having a family member or relative with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.

Ulcerative colitis is most accurately diagnosed through colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy which is also beneficial in ruling-out other possible conditions, such as Crohn’s disease, diverticular disease, or cancer.