Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes:
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The exact cause is unknown. A virus or bacteria may cause the immune system to overreact and damage the colon and rectum.
Having a family member with IBD (includes UC and Crohn's disease) may increase your risk of developing UC.
UC may cause:
Intestinal complications of UC may include:
Other complications of UC may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Testing may include:
Treatment options may include:
Your doctor may recommend that you avoid certain foods, such as:
Talk to your doctor or dietitian about what foods may work best for you.
There are a range of medications that may be prescribed, such as:
Surgery involves partial or complete removal of the colon. This may be necessary for:
Surgery for UC is curative and reduces the risk of colon cancer.
Fecal transplantation may be used to treat UC.
There are no current guidelines for preventing UC.
American Gastroenterological Society
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology
Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada
D'Haens GR, Sartor RB, Silverberg MS, Petersson J, Rutgeerts P. Future directions in inflammatory bowel disease management. 2014;8(8):726-734.
Richman S, Schub T. Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO Nursing Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/nursing/products/nursing-reference-center. Updated August 2012. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Ulcerative colitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 19, 2014. Accessed September 30, 2014.
Wedlake L, Slack N, Andreyev HJ, Whelan K. Fiber in the treatment and maintenance of inflammatory bowel disease: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2014;20(3):576-586.
What is ulcerative colitis? Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America website. Available at: www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-ulcerative-colitis. Accessed September 30, 2014.
8/31/2015 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance Update http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Moayyedi P, Surette MG, Kim PT, et al. Fecal microbiota transplantation induces remission in patients with active ulcerative colitis in a randomized controlled trial. Gastroenterology. 2015;149(1):102-109.
Last reviewed August 2015 by Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 8/31/2015