|Home A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z|
|Home U Ulcerative Colitis: What Is Ulcerative Colitis?|
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is a disease of the intestine, specifically the large intestine or colon, that includes characteristic ulcers, or open sores, in the colon. The main symptom of active disease is usually diarrhea mixed with blood, of gradual onset. Other symptoms include weight loss and different degrees of abdominal pain, from mild discomfort to severely painful cramps.
Because of the name, IBD is often confused with irritable bowel syndrome ("IBS"), a troublesome, but much less serious condition.
As ulcerative colitis is a systemic disease, patients may present with symptoms and complications outside the colon. These include the following:
Ulcerative colitis is an intermittent disease, with periods of exacerbated symptoms, and periods that are relatively symptom-free. Although the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can sometimes diminish on their own, the disease usually requires treatment to go into remission.
The disease is rare, with an incidence of about one person per 10,000 in North America.
Glossary References Links Contact