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.
The inflammation that causes UC symptoms can sometimes affect other parts of the body, with symptoms resulting in areas such as the:
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.
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.
* Symptoms of disease coming on suddenly with great severity.
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.
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.
Affects the rectum. Symptoms include rectal bleeding, rectal pain, and a feeling of urgency.
Affects the rectum and sigmoid colon (the lower segment of the colon right above the rectum). Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, pain in the lower left side of the abdomen, and a constant feeling of the need to pass stools (tenesmus).
Affects the rectum and extends as far as a bend in the colon near the spleen. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, pain in the left side of the abdomen, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
Affects the entire colon. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
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:
† Reduction in bone volume to below normal levels.
†† A condition characterized by a decrease in both bone mass and density, causing brittle bones and usually occurring in older women.
Want to prepare for your next UC doctor visit? Use the Doctor Discussion Guide
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.
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.
*Eligibility restricted to patients diagnosed with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.