• Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that damages the lining of the colon (large intestine). Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation, sores, bleeding, and scarring of the inner walls of the colon. The damage usually starts near the rectum and continues up the colon. The damage involves continuous areas of the wall rather than small patches.

  • The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is still not well understood. But scientists do know that some type of trigger (such as an infection or a medication) can set off ulcerative colitis in people who have an inherited risk of developing the condition. Could you be at risk? Although anyone can develop ulcerative colitis, there are a few things that can make your risk greater than average: age: While ulcerative colitis can affect people of any age, it usually strikes people between 15 and 25 years old and between 45 and 55 years old.

  • How can you tell if you have ulcerative colitis? Symptoms include: abdominal pain bloody diarrhea mild fever urges to empty the bowel even when the bowel is empty weight loss You may also have other symptoms, such as: blood clots in the leg eye inflammation (red eye) joint pain skin rash Rarely, ulcerative colitis can lead to a potentially life-threatening condition called toxic megacolon.

  • Ulcerative colitis can have a major effect on your work, family, and social life. How do you know when it's time to talk to your doctor? It may be time for a doctor's visit if: you're concerned that you may have ulcerative colitis you're newly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis you have questions about ulcerative colitis or ulcerative colitis treatment options you're being treated for ulcerative colitis but your symptoms are still affecting your life If any of the above applies to you, or if you have any other questions or concerns, see your doctor for help.

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