Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum. The inflammation kills the normal lining of the colon causing ulcers which then bleed and produce pus. This causes the bowel to empty frequently resulting in diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis differs from Crohn’s disease in that Crohn’s extends deeper into the lining of the intestine and can occur anywhere in the GI tract. There are several theories as to what causes Ulcerative Colitis, though none have been proven. It is thought to be caused by an altered immune response from the body which sees certain food, bacteria, and other substances as foreign thus causing the body to attack the “invaders” leading to the accumulation of white blood cells which then causes inflammation and subsequent ulcers. Ulcerative colitis usually develops between the ages of 15 and 30. It affects males and females equally and tends to run in families. Symptoms of UC include abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, but patients may also experience anemia fatigue, weight loss, and loss of appetite, joint pain, and skin lesions.