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Explore UC and how it may impact you

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of the large intestine, which includes
the colon. This disease is characterized by inflammation – irritation or swelling – and sores, also
known as ulcers, of the colon and rectum. The symptoms associated with UC may include bloody
diarrhea, urgency, and abdominal cramps.

No one knows exactly what causes ulcerative colitis, and it can affect every individual in a different
way. UC is a chronic, or ongoing, condition. And while there are no medicines that can cure this
disease, it can be managed.

Common ulcerative colitis symptoms:

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary from person to person depending on severity. Symptoms can also come and go.

The pattern of disease activity is often described by medical professionals as “relapsing and remitting.”
This means going through periods of flares and periods of remission. Flares are when symptoms return,
such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping. Remission is a time where the symptoms are generally
under control.

Diarrhea

With inflammation, the colon loses its ability to
absorb water, which leads to a progressive
loosening of the stool. This is one of the most
common symptoms of UC, especially during a
flare or at night (nocturnal diarrhea).

Unintended weight loss

Some symptoms associated with UC can
result in a loss of appetite and could lead to
weight loss. Weight loss can become more
evident if not addressed.

Abdominal discomfort

As the lining of the intestine becomes
inflamed and ulcerated, patients could have 
symptoms, such as diarrhea or bloody stool, in
addition to some abdominal cramping.

Rectal bleeding

Ulceration of the lining of the colon can cause
bleeding, which could lead to anemia.

Fatigue

Reduced appetite and weight loss, along with
anemia, could lead to a feeling of low energy.

Urgency

Along with abdominal pain, most people
with UC may experience urgency to have
 a bowel movement.

Beyond the intestine

Even though not all patients have symptoms
outside of the colon, UC may also affect your
eyes, skin, and bones, among other parts of
the body. These will vary depending on the
extent of inflammation and location of
the disease.

Editorial Corner

UC can affect many parts of your body. That is why your approach to manage it should cover every area it impacts. Finding the right team of healthcare professionals can make an enormous difference.

MICHELE RUBIN, APN

The location of UC
in the colon may vary

Explore more below.

It’s important to note that the symptoms associated with each type of UC may vary depending on a number of factors such as the location and extent of inflammation. Click below to explore the types of UC based on location within the large intestine.

Torso Overlay- Ulcerative Proctitis

Ulcerative Proctitis

Inflammation is confined to the rectum.

Torso Overlay- Proctosigmoiditis

Proctosigmoiditis

In this form, there is inflammation in both the rectum and the lower end of the colon.

Torso Overlay- Left-sided colitis

Left-Sided Colitis

Inflammation extends beyond the rectum, through the sigmoid and descending colon.

Torso Overlay- Pancolitis

Pancolitis

This type of UC affects the entire colon.


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UC affects every person differently

It’s important to remember no medicine cures ulcerative colitis (UC), but symptoms may be
managed. Each person’s UC is different and that’s why it’s important to work with your doctor to find
a treatment plan that is right for you.

Having an open and honest conversation with your doctor is the first step. To help you with your visit,
keep track of your symptoms and be as informed as you can.

Working with your doctor to manage your UC treatment

When it comes to UC treatment, it is important to work with your doctor to establish goals that are
right for you. One of those key goals may be to initially get your symptoms under control during a
flare. A long-term goal could be keeping those symptoms under control, which your doctor may refer
to as remission. It is very important to work with your doctor to determine if a prescription
medication may be appropriate for you. Several different types of treatments are available, and you
should discuss with your doctor which would be most appropriate for you.

Treatments for UC vary in how they work and how they are administered. For instance, some can be
taken orally as a pill, while others are delivered as an injection, intravenously, or topically. Also keep
in mind that surgery might be needed in certain situations. Your doctor can help you determine how
severe your UC is based on your symptoms and test results. Understanding the severity of your UC,
and what medications you have taken in the past will help determine what treatment may be most
appropriate for you.

Be sure to ask your doctor and healthcare team about all the available treatment options to get as
much information as you can about the management plan of your UC.


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