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Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms, Causes, and More

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes ulcers, irritation, and inflammation in the lining of the large intestine (colon).


Apart from bloody diarrhea, the symptoms of UC include:

– sudden urges to poop

– cramping belly pain

– anemia

– loss of appetite

– pus in stools

– eye pain upon looking at a bright light

– fever

– feeling tired

– canker sores

– weight loss

– pain or bleeding with bowel movements

– not being able to hold poop in

– feeling like the colon isn’t empty despite using the washroom

– dehydration

– joint pain or soreness

– skin sores

These symptoms may worsen or go away and come back.


UC happens when one’s immune system mistakes good gut bacteria, cells lining the colon, and food for intruders. Due to this, white blood cells, which typically attack foreign substances in the body, begin attacking the lining of the colon instead. This typically causes ulcers and inflammation. Doctors haven’t ascertained the cause of this condition. Some factors affecting one’s risk of developing UC include:

Family History

If any of one’s close relatives suffer from this condition, the individual has a 30% higher chance of getting it.


People who are between the ages of 15 and 30 and older than 60 are more prone to developing UC.


Individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish descent are at a higher risk of getting UC.

Although food and stress don’t cause UC, they can trigger many of its symptoms.


UC treatment aims to help the colon heal and prevent further flare-ups. Below are some treatment options:


Doctors may prescribe some medicines like:

– antibiotics (to fight infections and help the large intestine heal)

– immunomodulators (to stop one’s immune system from attacking the colon)

– loperamide (to slow down or stop diarrhea)


Spicy or high-fiber dishes may worsen UC symptoms, while soft, bland foods can be helpful. The doctor may recommend avoiding dairy products if one is lactose intolerant (cannot digest the sugar in milk). People with UC should have a balanced diet comprising lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and fiber.


If one’s UC is severe or other treatments don’t help, they may have to undergo surgery to remove the colon (colectomy) or both the colon and rectum (proctocolectomy).