Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a condition that causes superficial inflammation and ulceration of the lining of the rectum and colon (the large bowel). In UC, tiny ulcers develop on the surface of the lining and these may bleed and produce pus.
The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but it may affect the entire colon. If it only affects the rectum, it is called proctitis, while if it affects the whole colon it may be called total colitis or pancolitis.
It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other is Crohn’s Disease.
Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although you may have periods of good health (remission), as well as times when symptoms are more active (relapses or flare-ups).
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of Ulcerative colitis vary and can range from mild to severe. They may also change over time. Some patients remain well for a long time, while others have frequent flare-ups.
The main symptoms of IBD are
Diarrhoea sometimes mixed with blood, mucus and pus
Cramping pains in the abdomen which can be very severe and often occur before passing a stool
Tiredness and fatigue due to the illness itself, or from anaemia or the side effects of some of the drugs used for IBD or from a lack of sleep if you have to keep getting up at night with pain or diarrhoea
Feeling generally unwell
Loss of appetite and loss of weight
Anaemia (a reduced number of red blood cells) from loss of blood with your stools and poor appetite
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