What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are intermittent, often not occurring for months or years. During mild attacks symptoms may develop over a few days and include diarrhoea (sometimes with blood and mucous), tiredness, abdominal pain and poor appetite.

In severe attacks the symptoms come on suddenly and may include severe diarrhoea many times a day, passing of blood and mucous, fever, abdominal pain and swelling, and weight loss.

A potentially fatal complication of ulcerative colitis is inflammation and distension of the colon, called toxic megacolon, which may result in bowel perforation. Ulcerative colitis affecting most or all of the colon for several years increases a person's risk of bowel cancer.

Those with ulcerative colitis may also have arthritis, eye disorders (uveitis) and erythema nodosum.

Who is affected?

  • Ulcerative colitis affects approximately one in 160 people.
  • It's more common than Crohn's disease.
  • It most often occurs in Caucasians, particularly those of Jewish decent.
  • Symptoms usually first appear between the ages of 15 and 35.
  • It can run in families and is more common in non-smokers and ex-smokers.
  • Its exact cause is unknown and so it's difficult to prevent.
  • Treatments include medication to prevent attacks, stop diarrhoea and reduce inflammation, and surgery.
 
 
 
 
By Dr_Trisha-Macnair 01/29/2016 14:40:00

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