Ulcerative Colitis – Symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis - Symptoms

One of the most critical symptoms of ulcerative colitis is bloody mucous diarrhoea up to twenty times a day. If only the rectum is affected by the inflammation in ulcerative colitis, the stool can also have a regular shape, and the blood is deposited. Those affected by ulcerative colitis usually complain of cramping pain in the pelvic floor and anal area when defecating, more rarely, and also of left-sided abdominal pain.

Ulcerative colitis: symptoms and signs

Depending on the severity of ulcerative colitis, symptoms such as constipationfever, general physical weakness, weight loss, loss of appetite and nausea also occur. In most cases of ulcerative colitis, around 85 per cent of those affected, acute flare-ups alternate with symptom-free phases that can last for years (chronic-recurrent).

Increased physical or psychological stress often triggers a new attack of ulcerative colitis.

However, there are also forms of ulcerative colitis in which the inflammatory reactions are constantly changing ( chronic-continuous) or suddenly begin with the most severe, life-threatening diarrhoea, cramps, fever and shock (acute-fulminant).


Other Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

It is common for ulcerative colitis to have symptoms outside the intestinal tract. About five per cent of those affected suffer from painful changes in the skin on the extensor sides of the lower leg. These present as red, warm, walnut-sized elevations (erythema nodosum) or sharply defined ulcers (pyoderma gangrenosum). A quarter of ulcerative colitis patients suffer from pain in the knee and ankle joints, a fifth from changes in the liver and bile ducts. Eye symptoms such as inflammation of the conjunctiva or iris and kidney stones are less common.

If ulcerative colitis persists for a more extended period and shows extensive infestation, the risk of developing colon cancer increases. After ten years of disease progression, it is four to ten times higher than the general population.

A life-threatening, albeit rare, complication resulting from a severe attack of inflammation is toxic megacolon, a paralysis of the intestinal muscles. As a result, the intestinal contents are not moved, the intestines swell, and toxins and bacteria enter the bloodstream. There is a risk of inflammation of the peritoneum (peritonitis) and intestinal perforation – triggered by ulcerative colitis.


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