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The Signs & Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis can vary based on where the inflammation is centered and how severe it gets. In some cases, a patient’s ulcerative colitis is classified according to where it is located in their bowels. If you are living with confirmed ulcerative colitis, then you may be eligible for our ulcerative colitis clinical trial in Birmingham, AL.

The following list shows classifications of ulcerative colitis based on their symptoms:

  • Ulcerative Proctitis: With this type of ulcerative colitis, inflammation is centered around the area of the bowels nearest to the rectum or anus. For many people with this medical condition, the only symptom they ever experience is rectal bleeding. However, others can experience a range of rectal pain and the sensation of urgency. Fortunately, this tends to be the mildest form of ulcerative colitis.
  • Proctosigmoiditis: This is is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) which affects the lower portion of the colon (sigmoid colon) and the rectum. The most common indications of proctosigmoiditis include abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and the inability to make bowel movements despite the urge to do so (tenesmus).
  • Pancolitis: This type of ulcerative colitis can affect the entire colon. The symptoms of pancolitis, which include abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, can be quite severe and lead to additional weight loss and fatigue.
  • Left-sided Colitis: As you may have guessed from the title, the inflammation in this condition tends to be situated on the upper left side of the abdomen (including the rectum extending up through the sigmoid and descending colon). Common indications of left-sided colitis include abdominal cramping, weight loss, bloody diarrhea, and pain on the left side of the body.
  • Fulminant Colitis: This type of ulcerative colitis is rare, but it also can be life threatening in certain cases. Fulminant colitis affects the entire colon causing excruciating pain, copious diarrhea, dehydration, and even shock. If you have this medical condition, then you are at serious risk of developing further complications, such as toxic megacolon (this condition causes the colon to expand rapidly) and rupturing of the colon.

Ulcerative colitis tends to develop differently from case to case, with some people experiencing periods of acute symptoms followed by periods of complete disease remission. In the end however, most cases have the same level of severity. If you have been diagnosed with a milder form of ulcerative colitis, then it is not likely that you will develop more severe symptoms in the long run.

Seeking Medical Attention

It is recommended that you seek medical attention if you experience any persistent alterations in your normal bowel habits. This could be the indication of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or some other inflammatory bowel disease. The following symptoms are also worth mentioning to your doctor:

  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain
  • Resilient case of diarrhea that is not relieved after taking medication
  • Unexplained fever that lasts longer than a couple of days

While ulcerative colitis is not usually fatal, it is a serious disease that can become much worse when not managed. Without the appropriate treatments for ulcerative colitis, this medical condition could cause certain life-threatening complications.