Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) distinguished by inflammationImmune response to tissue injury that causes redness, swelling, and pain. of the large intestine (rectum and colon). The innermost lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed, and ulcers may form on the surface. UC can also affect:
Ulcerative colitis vs. Crohn’s disease
Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), but there are some key differences.
- Limited to the large intestine (colon and rectum)
- Occurs in the rectum and colon, involving a part or the entire colon
- Appears in a continuous pattern
- Inflammation occurs in innermost lining of the intestine
- About 30% of people in remission will experience a relapse in the next year
- Inflammation may develop anywhere in the GI tract from the mouth to the anus
- Most commonly occurs at the end of the small intestine
- May appear in patches
- May extend through entire thickness of bowel wall
- About 67% of people in remission will have at least 1 relapse over the next 5 years
IBD is not IBS
It’s important not to confuse an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like ulcerative colitis 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.
Who gets ulcerative colitis?
For a one-page overview of ulcerative colitis for yourself or to share with others, download Ulcerative Colitis 101, A Basic Guide.
Inflammation plays a role in your ulcerative colitis symptoms
Ulcerative colitis inflammation may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and other symptoms that vary from person to person and from mild to severe.Learn about UC symptoms
What are the causes of ulcerative colitis?
The exact cause of UC is not known, but researchers believe ulcerative colitis is caused by a combination of factors that involve genetics, the environment, and an overactive immune system. It is not caused by something you ate.Read about UC causes
How do you get diagnosed with ulcerative colitis?
If you have symptoms that could indicate UC, you will probably have a few different tests and procedures done to get a diagnosis, as there is no one test that can diagnose ulcerative colitis.UC diagnosis and testing
There are a variety of different treatments for ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronicContinuing or occurring again and again for a long time., life-long disease that requires ongoing treatment. There are several different medications available to treat it, and surgery may also be necessary for some patients.UC treatment options