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What Are The
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?

Person with Ulcerative Colitis grabbing stomach in pain

Truth is, ulcerative colitis (UC) symptoms can vary from person to person.

UC can happen in people differently depending on the part of the large intestine (colon) that’s affected and the severity of the inflammation.

Person with Ulcerative Colitis grabbing stomach in pain

UC Symptoms Can Include:

  • Abdominal pain/discomfort
  • Blood or pus in stool
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Frequent, recurring diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced appetite
  • Tenesmus: A sudden and constant feeling that you have to move your bowels

UC symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe based on where the large intestine is inflamed. These symptoms may not be the same for everybody, so it’s important to have an honest conversation with your doctor. Being open about your symptoms will help you and your doctor make the right treatment plan for you. Ask any questions you may have to get the right information as you move towards your treatment goals.

UC Inflammation Can Affect More Than the Large Intestine

The inflammation that causes UC symptoms can sometimes affect other parts of the body, with symptoms resulting in areas such as the:

EYES

SKIN

JOINTS

Talk with your doctor if you experience any symptoms that you may not associate with UC, as they may be a result of uncontrolled inflammation.

How Inflammation Can Cause UC Symptoms

When the large intestine becomes inflamed, symptoms may return abruptly or suddenly get more intense in the form of flare-ups. Learn more about UC symptoms and how inflammation can cause them by using our inflammation tool.

An Overview of Ulcerative Colitis Disease Activity

Mild
Person with mild ulcerative colitis symptoms
  • Up to 4 loose stools daily
  • Stools may be bloody
  • Mild abdominal pain
Moderate
Severe
Very Severe (Fulminant*)

Ulcerative colitis affects everyone differently. Symptoms range in severity and there can be variations for each individual. UC is a progressive disease and will change over time in your body. Always partner with your doctor to get a clear idea of how your UC is affecting you. You may go through frequent flare-ups for a while, then periods with few to no symptoms, then suddenly your symptoms can flare up again. For times like those, it’s good to be prepared with resources like the Restroom Request Card.

Staying on track with your treatment as prescribed will help you manage your condition as you work towards your treatment goals.

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.

The Different Types of UC and Their Symptoms

If you have ulcerative colitis, you should know where your large intestine is inflamed. The type of UC you have impacts the symptoms and complications you may experience. And remember to always tell your doctor about the impact of your disease on your life.

Ulcerative Proctitis

Affects the rectum. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, rectal pain, and a feeling of urgency.

Ulcerative proctitis diagram
Proctosigmoiditis
Left-Sided Colitis
Pan-Ulcerative Colitis

What Are the Different Complications of Ulcerative Colitis?

In addition to symptoms ranging in severity, UC can lead to other serious complications. In some instances, your doctor or specialist may recommend surgery to repair damage in the large intestine.

These complications include:

  • Profuse bleeding
  • Rupture of the bowel
  • Severe symptoms that do not respond to medication
  • Increased risk of colon cancer, due to chronic inflammation of the colon
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Anemia—Over time, blood loss from inflammation and ulceration of the colon can lead to iron deficiency
  • Vitamin D deficiency—For people with UC, decreased vitamin D can lead to bone loss such as osteopenia and/or osteoporosis.†† Corticosteroid use can make bone loss worse

Want to prepare for your next UC doctor visit? Use the Doctor Discussion Guide 

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.

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