Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis, also known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Colitis Ulcerative, is a chronic condition whose symptoms usually become apparent in young adults. The patient can develop symptoms all of a sudden or the onset may be more gradual. There can be symptom-free phases known as remission there can be periodic flare-ups or the symptoms can be ongoing, though this is usually in the absence of any kind of treatment.

Some patients experience mild symptoms whereas others report that their life is greatly impaired as a result of the condition. Interestingly, symptoms often increase and decrease seasonally with cases worsening in cold months and improving in summer.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is a major Ulcerative Colitis symptom although not all sufferers experience it on a regular basis. It can be recurrent and the feces can contain mucus.

Constipation

The flip side of diarrhea is constipation but it is not usually as common. Its believed to be the colons reflex response to the inflammation of the rectum, whereby the colon retains the stool to avoid the discomfort of passing it.

Bleeding

Whether visible to the eye or not, blood is almost always found in stools. This symptom is the reason why iron is an important feature in the diet of an Ulcerative Colitis patient.

Abdominal pain

Some patients report abdominal pain and cramping but more commonly describe it as discomfort. It can even manifest as an ache in the vicinity of the area above the hip bone.

Vomiting

During flare-ups, pain can accompany vomiting and nausea.

Appetite and weight loss

These are not significant Ulcerative Colitis symptoms and are more likely to be found in a Crohns Disease patient. Still, discomfort during flare-ups can cause a patient to not feel like eating, leading to loss of weight.

Bowel movements

Varying in mildness or severity, Ulcerative Colitis symptoms can include increased frequency of bowel movements, fecal incontinence and a feeling of not having evacuated the bowl completely.

Fever

Fever is usually only a symptom of Ulcerative Colitis during severe flare-ups.

Ulcerative Colitis symptoms can often be confused with those of Crohns Disease because the two conditions can, at first, present very similarly. Correct diagnosis is vital because each disease requires a different course of treatment.

Risk factors

    • Ulcerative Colitis symptoms are found equally in men and women.
    • The disease is most prevalent in those with European ancestry. Jewish people of European ancestry are at a five times greater risk of having UC than the general population.
    • The lowest incidence rate is found in South America and Asia.
    • Ulcerative Colitis can strike at any age, but is most frequently diagnosed in the 10 to 19 age bracket.
    • Fascinatingly, people who smoke have a lower than average risk factor for Ulcerative Colitis. On the other hand, their risk of Crohns Disease is higher.
    • Breastfeeding appears to lowers the risk for Ulcerative Colitis.
    • Depression and anxiety are not considered Ulcerative Colitis symptoms but patients with UC are more likely to have depression and anxiety in their history than those who dont have UC.
    • Left-handed people are at a significantly higher risk for Ulcerative Colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis symptoms, while troubling and, in some patients even disabling, are rarely fatal. In fact, before the condition becomes fatal, there are surgical actions that can be taken to halt this risk.