Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory condition in which the lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed and develops ulcers. In general, symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis develop over time rather than suddenly. Symptoms can include things like diarrhea with blood or pus, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, urgency to defecate, weight loss, fatigue, and fever. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms and can even go into remission, an extended period of time where no symptoms occur.
Despite the advances in medicine over the decades, the causes of Ulcerative Colitis are still unknown. However, some medical experts think that one of the culprits may be an immune system dysfunction. It is also believed that heredity plays some kind of role in who develops Ulcerative Colitis and who does not.
Although symptoms are often mild, complications can arise as a consequence of untreated Ulcerative Colitis. These complications include toxic megacolon, severe dehydration, inflammation of the skin, joints, and eyes, and an increased risk of colon cancer. Lab tests, endoscopic procedures, and imaging are all utilized in the diagnosis.