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About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition that generally affects the innermost lining (mucosa) of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. Ulcerative colitis symptoms typically involve the lining becoming inflamed (red and swollen) and tiny open sores (ulcers) forming on the surface of the lining. These ulcers might bleed – in fact, bleeding from the rectum is often a first sign that something’s not quite right. The inflamed lining also produces a larger than normal amount of intestinal lubricant or mucus, which sometimes contains pus. Most people with this condition respond well to colitis treatment, but in more severe cases, surgery may become a necessary path.

How does ulcerative colitis affect the intestines?

Inflammation ‘attacks’ the innermost lining of the colon known as the mucosa, resulting in bleeding and diarrhoea.

The inflammation is most often located in the rectum and lower colon, but can also involve other parts of the colon, sometimes even the entire colon. Less often, it might involve other parts of the intestine. Depending on the exact location of the inflammation, ulcerative colitis is known by other names:

  • Proctitis: involves only the rectum
  • Proctosigmoiditis: involves the rectum and sigmoid colon (the lower segment of the colon before the rectum)
  • Distal colitis: involves only the left side of the colon
  • Pancolitis: involves the entire colon
  • Backwash ileitis: involves the distal ileum.

Additional Information:

The latest news and Research

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‘People think when you have inflammatory bowel disease that you just go to the toilet a lot, but it’s more than that…’

Posted: December 5 2019

I was actually diagnosed during Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week two years ago, which was a bit of a coincidence. It just came out of nowhere – I had been pregnant with my second baby and there were some things during the pregnancy that I suppose were a sign that something was going on, but […]

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‘It’s humiliating when someone tuts at you for using a disabled loo’

Posted: December 5 2019

Two years after his diagnosis, Mesha decided to have an operation to have a stoma created, where an ileostomy bag is attached. This means that his body now bypasses the large intestine and the waste is collected in the bag that sits outside his body. Now, he works as a personal trainer and when his […]

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Investigating the human intestinal mucus barrier up-close and personal

Posted: December 5 2019

We have a mutualistic but complicated relationship with the collection of microbes in our gut, known as the intestinal microbiome. This complex community of bacteria breaks down different food components, and releases nutrients such as vitamins and a plethora of other factors that control functions in tissues way beyond the intestinal tract. However, the sheer […]

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Mental health diagnoses common in IBD, but may be lessening in veterans

Posted: December 3 2019

“The aim of this study was to identify temporal trends in incidence and prevalence of these mental health problems, including anxiety, depression and PTSD in this population of veteran patients with IBD,” they wrote. “Identifying these comorbid mental health problems within this patient population would improve health care practices by helping providers streamline appropriate treatment […]

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Personal Story

Allison Zuck’s personal experience with Crohn’s

Posted: December 3 2019

When I first started experiencing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, I was just 20 years old. It was the beginning of my junior year of college – I was studying abroad in Versailles, just outside of Paris – and I noticed something was wrong within my first month there. I was having constant stomach […]

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Personal Story

What it’s like to live with both a mental and physical illness at the same time

Posted: December 3 2019

I am one of those lucky people who live with both a chronic illness and mental illness. I have ulcerative colitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease which led to the removal of my large intestine, and I also have bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), borderline personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And yes, it can […]

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