Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of severe, chronic
inflammatory bowel disease
(IBD), which causes:
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.
UC may cause:
Intestinal complications of UC may include:
Other complications of UC 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, such as:
Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what foods may work best for you.
There are a range of medications that may be prescribed, such as:
Surgery involves partial or complete removal of the colon. This may be necessary for:
Surgery for UC is curative and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
There are no current guidelines for preventing UC.
American Gastroenterological Society
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada
D'Haens GR, Sartor RB, et al. Future directions in inflammatory bowel disease management. 2014;8(8):726-734.
Richman S, Schub T. Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated August 2012. Accessed September 5, 2012.
Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated July 12, 2014. Accessed July 25, 2014.
Wedlake L, Slack N, et al. Fiber in the treatment and maintenance of inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014;20(3):576-586.
What is ulcerative colitis? Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at:
www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-ulcerative-colitis. Accessed September 5, 2012.
Last reviewed September 2013 by
Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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