Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes long-lasting inflammation of the cells that line the rectum and colon and causes ulcers in your digestive tract. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis usually develop over time, rather than suddenly and they can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. In this article, we share the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis that you should see a doctor if you experiencing any of them.
1. Abdominal Pain: Ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal pain as the body tries to send food through a large intestine, or colon, that’s swollen and lined with ulcers. Many people with this disease have abdominal pain during flare-ups and this causes ever-present stomach cramping and stabbing pain. So if you’re experiencing severe or chronic abdominal cramping with no obvious reason, talk to your doctor.
2. Diarrhea: Many people who are suffering from ulcerative colitis experience urgent diarrhea. The urge to empty the colon may occur when you eat certain foods that don’t agree with you, or from emotional distress. And because with ulcerative colitis, there’s irritation or swelling and sores (or ulcers) on the inner lining of the large intestine, the diarrhea stool may also contain blood or mucus from the irritated colon.
3. Sudden Weight Loss: This symptom happens as a result of having a lot of diarrhea. That is because if you’re having a lot of diarrhea, you’re not absorbing nutrients efficiently from your food, and you’re not eating as much because it causes abdominal cramping and nausea so you will suffer from severe and sudden weight loss.
4. Anemia: Anemia can be the first sign of ulcerative colitis. Anemia, a severe iron deficiency, can occur if a colitis patient suffers from bloody and explosive diarrhea. Due to the constant blood loss and bleeding of the rectum, the sufferer can become very weak.
5. Constipation: One form of ulcerative colitis, a condition called proctosigmoiditis, primarily affects the lower colon and rectum. Due to its origin in the lower colon, bouts of bloody diarrhea followed by an inability to have a bowel movement (constipation) may flip flop.
6. Severe Dehydration: Ulcerative colitis that runs along the entire length of the colon, causing ulcerations and tissue inflammation is known as fulminant colitis. Due to the explosive diarrhea it causes, this form of colitis can cause severe dehydration and shock.