Ulcerative Colitis (UC): Causes, Symptoms, Types, Diagnosis & Treatment

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine, especially the lower colon and rectum. Inflammatory bowel disease is a term that describes a group of diseases that affects the gastrointestinal tract. Inflammatory bowel disease involves Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis affects the inner lining of the colon, rectum, or both, which leads to inflammation, irritation, and ulceration. Ulcerative colitis may cause mild or severe symptoms, such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, bleeding per rectum, anemia, and weight loss. It may be dangerous and cause life-threatening complications that affect the skin, joint, bone, eye, liver, and lung. Also, ulcerative colitis may end in toxic megacolon or cancer colon. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease, and its symptoms develop gradually over a long period. Ulcerative colitis usually occurs in an intermittent course. Intermittent course means that there are asymptomatic periods between acute attacks of symptoms.

Ulcerative colitis affects both sexes in equal rate. It is common in those between 15 and 30 years old, but it also may occur in children or the elderly. Ulcerative colitis affects about 20 per 100000 people every year. In 2015, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease) affected about 11 million people and caused about 50000 death. It is more common in the United States, Canada, and Europe than in other areas of the world.

The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. It may be autoimmune, genetic, or environmental.

The diagnosis of ulcerative colitis depends on imaging by endoscopy and taking a biopsy from the affected tissue. Other tests and diagnostic tools may be useful to differentiate ulcerative colitis from other causes that may cause similar symptoms. Also, we need to screen for colon cancer as it is one of the most dangerous complications of ulcerative colitis.

Treatment of ulcerative colitis may be only with medications or surgery. Surgery may be essential in some conditions, such as severe complications or failure of medical treatment to control the symptoms. Also, some dietary changes may improve the symptoms.

» Now, we will discuss the ulcerative colitis in detail, and we will cover the following questions:

  • What is the etiology of ulcerative colitis?
  • What are the symptoms, signs, and complications of ulcerative colitis?
  • What are the types of ulcerative colitis?
  • How can your doctor diagnose ulcerative colitis?
  • What are the components of the management plan of ulcerative colitis?
  • What is the prognosis of ulcerative colitis?

– Finally, we will discuss ulcerative colitis in comparison to Crohn’s disease.