Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Man with UC holding a tablet

First off: What is ulcerative colitis (UC)?

UC is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) known for its inflammation of the large intestine (rectum and colon). The innermost lining becomes inflamed, and ulcers may form on the surface.

Man with UC holding a tablet

UC Can Affect More Than the Intestines

Sometimes, ulcerative colitis causes inflammation outside of the large intestine. It’s important to know that IBD isn’t confined to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract—disease-related symptoms may develop in other areas of the body, like:

EYES

SKIN

JOINTS

Who Gets UC?

Up to 20% of people with UC have a blood relative who also has IBD

Affects men and women equally

More than 900,000 people in the United States are affected by UC

UC can occur at any time, but most often starts between ages 15 and 35

Symptoms can range from mild to severe

Want more quick facts? Download the basic guide: Ulcerative Colitis 101

Learn about treatment options for ulcerative colitis.

The Differences Between UC and Crohn’s

Both UC and Crohn's disease are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), but there are some key differences.

Ulcerative Colitis

  • Affects the large intestine (colon) and the rectum
  • Can affect either a part of or the entire colon
  • Appears in a continuous pattern
  • Inflammation affects the innermost lining of the intestine
  • About 30% of people in remission will experience a reoccurrence of symptoms in the next year

Crohn's Disease

  • Inflammation may develop anywhere in the GI tract from the mouth to the anus
  • Commonly affects the end of the small intestine
  • Can appear in patches
  • May affect the entire thickness of bowel wall
  • About 67% of people in remission will have at least 1 reoccurrence of symptoms over the next 5 years
Person sitting at a desk writing with pencil in hand

QUESTION FOR YOU

How long have you been diagnosed?

"I'm not diagnosed"

It’s still important to be open about symptoms you might be experiencing.

Partner with your doctor>

 

"Under a year"

Always stay positive and be proactive. Make sure you know the facts about your condition.

GET THE FACT SHEET>

"1 to 3 years"

Make the most out of every appointment with your specialist.

GET THE Doctor Discussion Guide>

"3 to 5 years"

Do you know how inflammation affects you inside the body—and impacts your symptoms?

See Inside Inflammation>

 

"Over 5 years"

Keep treatment conversations open with your specialist and have more productive visits.

Get The Doctor Discussion Guide>

 

Man holding stomach in pain

QUESTION FOR YOU

How often do you experience symptoms?

“Daily”

Schedule an appointment with your specialist and make the visit even more productive.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Weekly”

Have an open conversation with your specialist. Make the most of your next visit.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Monthly”

Make sure that you’re telling your doctor everything they need to know to help you.

Get the Doctor Discussion Guide>

“Rarely”

Did you know that inflammation can affect you—even if you don’t have symptoms?

SEE INSIDE INFLAMMATION>

Person typing on laptop keyboard

Know the basics of Crohn’s or UC

See an overview of facts on Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—all on one downloadable page.

son sitting at a desk viewing inflammation inside the body on a laptop

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

IBD Is Not IBS

It’s important not to confuse an IBD like UC or Crohn’s disease with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the bowel and is not characterized by intestinal inflammation, nor is it a chronic disease.

Person looking at map on mobile phone

Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

Woman going over her doctor discussion guide with her doctor

Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.

Stopwatch

Is it time to make a personalized action plan?

See how much time your disease is impacting you. Answer 5 quick questions and get 3 customized, timely steps to help you and your doctor take action with your disease.

Hand holding restroom request card

Get a Restroom Request Card* and helpful info

Have a discreet way to ask for access to restricted restrooms if you have symptoms. And get updates, resources and more sent to your inbox.

Person sitting at a desk viewing inflammation inside the body on a laptop

Understand your inflammation

Explore and learn how inflammation affects you with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis (UC)—from inside the body.

Woman going over her doctor discussion guide with her doctor

Make the most of your appointments

Our doctor discussion guide can help you talk effectively with your doctor during your visits.

Person looking at map on mobile phone

Looking for a gastroenterologist?

Find a gastroenterologist—a doctor who specializes in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)—near you.

Stopwatch

Is it time to make a personalized action plan?

See how much time your disease is impacting you. Answer 5 quick questions and get 3 customized, timely steps to help you and your doctor take action with your disease.

More Knowledge. More Power.

What are the symptoms of UC?

Understand the different signs and symptoms.

What causes UC?

Learn how the interaction of factors may result in UC.

How do you test for UC?

Understand diagnosis, disease evaluation, and testing.

How is UC a progressive disease?

Find out how UC may get worse over time.

What treatments are there for UC?

Learn about different treatment options and medications.

What are some tips for daily life with UC?

Get advice on managing UC in your day-to-day.

Real Ulcerative Colitis patient

It’s going to be tough in the beginning. But once you figure out what treatment works for you, you can head in the direction of living a happy life.

RYAN | Real UC Patient

Real Ulcerative Colitis patient

ISI Column 1


AbbVie