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Crohn's & Colitis > Ulcerative colitis - what you need to know > How do I know if I have ulcerative colitis?
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How do I know if I have ulcerative colitis?

How can you tell if you have ulcerative colitis? Symptoms include:

  • abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhea
  • mild fever
  • urges to empty the bowel though nothing happens (false urges)
  • weight loss

You may also have other symptoms, such as:

  • being prone to blood clots (hypercoagulability)
  • eye inflammation (red eye)
  • joint pain
  • skin rash

Ulcerative colitis can lead to an extremely rare potentially life-threatening condition called toxic megacolon. The inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis can make the colon enlarge to the point where it may tear or burst, spilling the contents of the colon into the abdominal cavity.

Seek immediate medical attention if you notice these symptoms of toxic megacolon:

  • abdominal pain
  • abdominal swelling
  • altered mental status (e.g., confusion)
  • dehydration
  • fast heartbeat
  • fever
  • low blood pressure

It's not always possible to tell whether you have ulcerative colitis from symptoms alone. That's why it's important to visit your doctor for a diagnosis. If you think you may have ulcerative colitis, see your doctor to find out for sure.

Doctor Discussion Guide Treatment Plan Things you should know


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