Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) , which causes:
- Bleeding in the lining of the colon and rectum
The exact cause is unknown. A virus or bacteria may cause the immune system to overreact and damage the colon and rectum.
Having a family member with IBD (includes UC and Crohn's disease ) may increase your risk of developing UC.
Symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical exam. Your doctor may order tests, such as:
Treatment options may include:
Your doctor may recommend that you avoid certain foods that trigger symptoms, such as:
- Dairy foods (due to lactose intolerance )
- Highly seasoned foods
- High-fiber foods
Talk to your doctor to learn more about the types of foods that you should avoid.
There are a range of medicines that may be prescribed, such as:
- Aminosalicylate medicines (such as, sulfasalazine, mesalamine, olsalazine, balsalazide disodium)
- Steroid anti-inflammatory medicines (such as, prednisone, methylprednisolone, budesonide)
- Immune modifier medicines (such as, azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine, cyclosporine)
- Biological agents (such as, infliximab, adalimumab)
Medicine may not cure very severe UC. In some cases, your doctor may suggest surgery . This can involve having all or part of the colon removed. Surgery may also be done because UC increases your risk of colon cancer .
Over time, colitis that is not treated or that does not respond to treatment can lead to:
If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, follow your doctor's instructions .
- Reviewer: Daus Mahnke, MD
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -