Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
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Ulcerative colitis facts
What is ulcerative colitis?
What causes ulcerative colitis?
What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?
How is the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis made?
What are the complications of ulcerative colitis?
What are the treatments for ulcerative colitis?
What are ulcerative colitis medications?
Systemic corticosteroids (including side effects)
What are immunomodulator medications?
Summary of medication treatment
Surgery for ulcerative colitis
Treatment by disease severity and location (based on ACG Practice Guidelines)
Are there any special dietary requirements for persons with ulcerative colitis?
What research is being done regarding ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the large intestine (colon).
The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown.
Intermittent rectal bleeding, crampy abdominal pain and diarrhea often are symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
The diagnosis of ulcerative colitis can be made with a barium enema, but direct visualization (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) is the most accurate means of diagnosis.
Long-standing ulcerative colitis is a risk factor for colon cancer.
Treatment of ulcerative colitis may involve both medications and surgery.
Ulcerative colitis also can cause inflammation in joints, spine, skin, eyes, and the liver and its bile ducts.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine (colon). The colon is the part of the digestive system where water is removed from undigested material, and the remaining waste material is stored. The rectum is the end of the colon adjacent to the anus. In patients with ulcerative colitis, ulcers and inflammation of the inner lining of the colon lead to symptoms of abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.
Ulcerative colitis is closely related to another condition of inflammation of the intestines called Crohn's disease. Together, they are frequently referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's diseases are chronic conditions that can last years to decades. Men and women are affected equally. They most commonly begin during adolescence and early adulthood, but they also can begin during childhood and later in life.
It is found worldwide, but is most common in the United States, England, and northern Europe. It is especially common in people of Jewish descent. Ulcerative colitis is rarely seen in Eastern Europe, Asia, and South America, and is rare in the black population. For unknown reasons, an increased frequency of this condition has been observed recently in developing nations.
First degree relatives of people with ulcerative colitis have an increased lifetime risk of developing the disease, but the overall risk remains small.