Please enter search term

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

Story at-a-glance

  • Keep in mind that the symptoms of ulcerative colitis are not limited to the GI tract. This disease may also affect other parts of the body, particularly the skin and bones
  • According to studies, the mortality risk for ulcerative colitis patients is 1.7 times higher than that of the general population

The common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are similar to that of the other inflammatory bowel diseases, which is why it can be a bit confusing to diagnose. When consulting a doctor, it’s very important to be honest about your symptoms because the treatment plan that’s appropriate for you usually depends on this factor.

Talk to Your Doctor If You Experience Any of These Telltale Signs

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis occur when you enter the “flare-up” phase, and they usually lessen or disappear once the disease reaches a remission period. The usual warning signs of a flaring ulcerative colitis include:1

Abdominal pain/discomfort

Recurring diarrhea

Rectal bleeding

Constipation

Tenesmus (an urge to move your bowels even if you’ve just emptied your colon)

Fatigue

Reduced appetite

Weight loss

It’s hard to predict when ulcerative colitis will flare. The symptoms that you may encounter from each flare-up may also change or worsen. Often times, these symptoms help determine how severe your ulcerative colitis is.

Ulcerative Colitis May Also Cause Symptoms Outside the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract

Keep in mind that the symptoms of ulcerative colitis are not limited to the GI tract. This disease may also affect other parts of the body, particularly the skin and bones. Here are some of the extraintestinal symptoms that you should watch out for:2

Eye itchiness, redness and pain

Mouth sores

Painful and swollen joints

Skin rashes, bumps and ulcerations

Clubbing of fingers


Understanding the Severity of Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

If you’re diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, you should know how to determine the severity of your symptoms in order to treat this disease before it gets worse, or at least prevent fatal complications from occurring. Here are the classifications of its warning signs:3

Ulcerative colitis may also lead to other complications that require urgent medical attention. These complications include enlargement of the colon (also known as toxic megacolon) and holes on the intestinal wall.4 Some people with ulcerative colitis develop serious conditions outside the GI tract as well, including kidney stones, bone diseases and even liver disorders.

Mortality in Ulcerative Colitis

According to studies, the mortality risk for ulcerative colitis patients is 1.7 times higher than that of the general population.5 However, this is not due to ulcerative colitis itself. Rather, these deaths are caused by the complications brought about by this disease.

For instance, patients who are suffering from extensive inflammation are at a higher risk of dying from fatal gastrointestinal and lung diseases.6 This is exactly why it’s important that you diagnose and treat this disease the moment that you observe its symptoms from your body.

MORE ABOUT ULCERATIVE COLITIS

Ulcerative Colitis: Introduction

What Is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis Causes

Types of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Ulcerative Colitis Prevention

Ulcerative Colitis Diet

Ulcerative Colitis FAQ

< Previous

What Is Ulcerative Colitis?

Next >

Ulcerative Colitis Causes

Sources and References

  • 1 Crohn's & Colitis, Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms
  • 2 Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, The Facts About Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • 3, 4 WebMD, Types of Ulcerative Colitis
  • 5 American Gastroenterological Association, Mortality in Ulcerative Colitis, 1982 July;83(1),36-43 doi: 10.1016/S0016-5085(82)80281-3
  • 6 The American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2007 Mar;102(3):609-17
  • Most Popular