Ulcerative Colitis

  • Medical Author: Adam Schoenfeld, MD
  • Medical Author: George Y. Wu, MD, PhD
  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    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 Diet

There is no clinical or scientific evidence that supports the theory that a specialized diet may cause or benefit individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC). However, patients may find that certain foods aggravate symptoms of ulcerative colitis and they should avoid such foods. The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are rectal bleeding, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. Some people recommend avoiding a high fiber diet (such as raw fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, etc.) in addition to other foods that aggravate symptoms. It may be reasonable to keep a food journal to track what foods aggravate symptoms and foods that don't aggravate symptoms (for example, bananas, white rice, white bread, applesauce, bland soft foods, etc.) Discuss your dietary needs with your treating doctor or a dietician that specializes in ulcerative colitis and diet.

Quick GuideUlcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Ulcerative colitis facts

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. Grohn's disease can affect any portion of the gastrointestinal tract, including all layers of the bowel wall. It may not be limited to the GI tract (affecting the liver, skin, eyes, and joints). UC only affects the lining of the colon (large bowel). 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.

UC 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/29/2016

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