- Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that develops when your colon or rectum (or in some cases, both) become inflamed.
- UC affects about 900,000 individuals in the U.S.
- The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is complex but experts believe it could be caused by an overactive immune system.
- Even though there is no cure, there are treatment options available that can help you manage the disease.
Do you need to take frequent trips to the bathroom? Perhaps you’re suddenly feeling overly tired every day or experiencing unusual abdominal pain or cramping. If that’s the case, you might be suffering from a type of inflammatory bowel disease known as ulcerative colitis.
Roughly 900,000 individuals are living with ulcerative colitis in the United States. And while it often develops between the ages of 15 and 30, anyone can develop it at any age. There’s a lot more to know about it too. So, let’s take a look at what ulcerative colitis is, what causes it, the signs to look out for, plus how to treat it.
What Is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that develops when your colon (large intestine) or rectum (or in some cases, both) become inflamed. Over time, the inflammation causes small sores, known as ulcers, to develop on the lining of your colon. The inflammation often starts in the rectum and eventually spreads upward, sometimes involving the whole colon.
Many ulcerative colitis sufferers experience frequent bowel movements. This is because the inflammation “causes your bowel to move its contents rapidly and empty frequently,” explains Healthline. The ulcers can also cause bleeding, mucus, and pus.