Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Problems With Ulcerative Colitis Outside the Intestines

Ulcerative colitis can also cause problems outside of the intestines. Some of these problems include:
 
Not everyone with ulcerative colitis develops these problems, and healthcare providers don't know exactly why some of them happen, especially those outside of the intestines. Some complications, such as skin disorders and arthritis, may be triggered by an overactive immune system.
 
Complications appear to occur more often when larger amounts of the colon are affected by the disease. Complications outside of the intestines in those with ulcerative proctitis (which only affects the rectum) are rare.
 
(Click Ulcerative Colitis Complications for more information.)
 

Predicting Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

It is virtually impossible for your healthcare provider to predict how ulcerative colitis will affect you. In general, however, the more of the colon that is inflamed, the more severe the symptoms will be. For example, for someone with ulcerative proctitis (which just affects the rectum) or ulcerative proctosigmoiditis (which affects the rectum and sigmoid colon), the disease is usually mild, with minimal problems outside of the digestive tract. However, sometimes even ulcerative proctitis is difficult to treat. For example, sometimes a person will experience continued rectal bleeding and the constant need to empty the bowel -- yet will be unable to empty or will have difficulty emptying the bowel when trying to (this is known as tenesmus). Tenesmus is often accompanied by pain, cramping, and involuntary straining efforts. Most people with ulcerative proctitis will not develop more extensive ulcerative colitis.
 
About 85 percent of people with ulcerative colitis have a mild-to-moderate form of the disease that comes and goes. About 15 percent will develop a more serious case of ulcerative colitis that involves the whole colon, severe bloody diarrhea, and other problems within the body.

Information on Ulcerative Colitis

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