Skip to main content

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


Kids with gut problems need mental health support

Childhood-onset IBD tends to have an even more severe disease course and longer duration than IBD diagnosed in adulthood.

We found that individuals with childhood-onset IBD were at increased risk of any psychiatric disorder and suicide attempt, including several categories of psychiatric disorders. Most of this association remained significant when comparing individuals with IBD with their siblings without IBD, thus accounting for environmental and genetic factors shared within siblings.  Our findings confirm and further […]

Read more


New method to study Crohn’s disease microbes

Posted: August 21 2019

Identifying species among plants and animals has been a full-time occupation for some biologists, but the task is even more daunting for the myriad microbes that inhabit the planet. Now, MIT researchers have developed a simple measurement of gene flow that can define ecologically important populations among bacteria and archaea, including pinpointing populations associated with […]

Read more


Personalised medicine and genetics

Scientists have identified specific links between genes and some diseases as well as between genes and the effectiveness of some medicines or treatments.

Many of us wonder why some people develop cancer while others do not and why a medication might work well for one person but be less effective or cause serious side effects in another. Although these differences are due to a number of important factors such as age, weight and lifestyle, our genetic make-up also […]

Read more

Personal Story

How Crohn’s and a cancer scare turned this man into an endurance junkie

Posted: August 15 2019

It’s a typically windy day on St Kilda shorefront in Melbourne, and Quinn Darragh is in “absolute agony”. To make it here, Quinn, a Bondi lifeguard by trade, had to swim 1.5 kilometres, cycle 180 kilometres, and run a literal marathon (that’s 42 kilometres to you and me). That’s just what an Ironman has to […]

Read more


Walnuts show ability to protect against Ulcerative colitis

Walnuts contain a complex array of natural compounds and phytochemicals that exhibit a wide range of health benefits, including protection against inflammation and colon cancer.

Dietary supplementation with nuts has shown a variety of health benefits. Among the tree nuts, walnuts (Juglans regia) contain the highest levels of the omega-3 fatty acid, namely alpha-linoleic acid (ALA), with the most favorable ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fatty acids (1:4.2) [1]. Walnuts also contain a large number of phytochemicals, including phenolic antioxidants, and high […]

Read more


Cold-water treatment? A weekend with the ‘Ice Man’

Posted: August 14 2019

Best known for trying to scale Mount Everest in only a pair of shorts and hiking boots, Hof has broken more world records than even he can count. His feats include a near-fatal 57-metre swim under ice during which he went temporarily blind, and a barefoot half-marathon in the Arctic. He’s also immersed himself in […]

Read more