Ulcerative Colitis

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Ulcerative Colitis


Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis?


Ulcerative colitis is one of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) that causes inflammation primarily in the large intestine.

Also, Ulcerative Colitis can  lead to the formation of ulcers in the digestive tract, particularly the lining of the colon and the rectum.  Therefore, rendering the patient to suffer from a long-lasting inflammation.


The symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain, bloating, blood in stool and chronic diarrhea.  The abdominal pain associated with ulcerative colitis is more than a stomach ache.  Depending on the type of ulcerative colitis is where the pain is more severe, meaning there could be pain throughout the entire colon, that is over six feet.  Also, symptoms of ulcerative colitis can come and go.  Flares and remission are the terms used to describe the status of ulcerative colitis.  Symptoms are especially bothersome during a flare, while remission puts the symptoms at bay with little to no discomfort.


Researching for a friend or family member?  Whether you are researching your own symptoms of wondering what a friend with ulcerative colitis experiences the symptoms guide has everything you need.

Signs of Ulcerative Colitis

One of the first signs of ulcerative colitis is a bloody stool.  Above all, seeing blood in your stool or when you wipe is alarming, but it is one of the most common signs of IBD and IBS.  Also, an urgency to use the restroom, tenesmus, is a very common symptom especially in the beginning stages of colitis.  You might feel like you are never “done” emptying your colon.  There could be diarrhea each time you go or constipation problems as well.  Nevertheless, there are other signs of colitis that are not so obvious.  For example,  problems with depression and anxiety are also signs of an Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Also,  other signals of problems with the digestive system incude poor skin, eye, and oral health.  In conclusion, the signs of Ulcerative Colitis are not always a clear indicator, see all of our information on the signs of Ulcerative Colitis.

What causes Ulcerative Colitis?

There is not one single cause of Ulcerative Colitis.  Actually, there are a number of factors that can contribute to the development of this inflammatory bowel disease.  Your gut becomes disrupted as a result of a combination of factors.  Stress, diet, and lifestyle play a crucial role in your health.  Ulcerative Colitis is an autoimmune disease.  Similarly, to the rest of other autoimmune diseases it begins with this same thing; a leaky gut.  When the environment of your gut is in imbalance there is a lot that can go wrong.  80% of your immune system is in the gut, so antibiotics, genetics, and diet can easily throw it off.  These and other environmental factors may trigger an autoimmune response of inflammation that eventually becomes chronic.  Finally, your body developed Ulcerative Colitis as a result of the long term leaky gut and other issues.

Causes of colitis continued

There are also other factors to consider.  For instance, your genetics might include a history of family members with colitis.  Also, you may have been following a diet that you thought would make you healthy.  And, since there are many health foods that can disrupt the gut micro flora, it is likely these were hurting your body.  Perhaps you have taken many rounds of antibiotics in hopes of calming the disease, or for other issues.  As a result, the already disrupted ecosystem in your gut gets devastated by the antibiotics.  Regardless, of these crucial factors, we must remember that stress, diet, and other environmental factors may trigger an autoimmune response.  In conclusion, while it is true that there isn’t a “known” cause, the disease certainly is triggered in our modern lifestyles.

Ulcerative Colitis and joint pain


Joint pain is the one of the worst invisible symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.  Usually, patients complain of the pain in their extremities affecting their lifestyle the most.  These areas include the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, elbows, and shoulders.  As a result, of chronic inflammation this pain is brought on and it can be really devastating to an active lifestyle.  Another complaint, is ulcerative colitis and lower back pain.  Luckily, this pain can subside after treating your leaky gut and therefore alleviating colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis in children

While most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15-35, ulcerative colitis is also found in children.  The symptoms your child exhibits include the same as an adult.  A child with chronic diarrhea, nausea, and blood in the stool may most likely have colitis.  In addition, a tell tale symptom of colitis is a child that is not growing normally, or has abruptly stopped growing.  Elaine Gottschall, writer of Breaking The Vicious Cycle, began her health journey when her daughter was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis at four years old.  In conclusion, there is not an age for the disease, and it should be treated since the child suffers the same as an adult.


Types of Colitis

  • lymphocytic colitis
  • microscopic colitis
  • diverticulosis-associated colitis
  • collagenous colitis

The diagnosis process for colitis involves several tests and procedures.  First, your primary doctor will assess whether you need to visit a gastroenterologist.  Next, you will undergo some bloodwork.  Once you see the gastroenterologist, they will take it from there to perform their own procedures.  Usually, the first procedures will be a colonoscopy and possibly X-rays.  In addition,  stool samples will be collected.  Essentially, what your team of doctors would like to know is what is going on.  Visit our resource page on the topic to read more about diagnosis and testing procedures for Ulcerative Colitis.

Actually, antibiotics have traditionally been the first medication when treating Ulcerative Colitis.  An overgrowth of bacteria in the intestine causes discomfort and troublesome symptoms.  Therefore, doctors commonly prescribe an antibiotic in hopes of providing relief.  If this doesn’t work the next step is medication.  The problem with antibiotics for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s is that the antibiotic doesn’t recognize which is the bad bacteria.  Afterwards, you are left with many less bad bacteria, and a wiped out amount of good bacteria.  This will happen regardless of the reason you are taking the antibiotic.  In addition, when taking an antibiotic for another reason, this depleted micro flora environment may lead to colitis.  Therefore, it is not that antibiotics give you colitis but they weaken your gut to the point that you become ill enough to develop the disease.

IBD Awareness stories

I joined this forum and I would like to recommend it to every one interested in getting back on track with their life since IBD. There is so much doom with IBD, we can get healthy instead.
Mark, Ulcerative Colitis since 1998
Amazing website and support. Easy to navigate, interesting reads and a group of people sharing information without the judgment I feel other places.
John , Diagnosed 2004

Fortunately, there are many options for treating Ulcerative Colitis.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion about how to best treat inflammatory bowel diseases.  The traditional approach is visiting your doctor and a specialist.  Depending on how severe your symptoms, you can take medication.  First, there is antibiotics, steroids, and anti inflammatory medications.  Also, there are drugs that suppress the immune system.  Although, it may be avoided, surgery is another option that is sometimes an emergency.  Otherwise, natural treatments are a less taken option.  Because there isn’t a cure for (IBD) Inflammatory Bowel Disease most medications have to be switched after long term use.  Overall, there are quite a bit of options each with their own setbacks.  See more about how to treat ulcerative colitis here.

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