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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

News

New potential therapy for Crohn’s disease in children

Posted: February 24 2021

Scientists from the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago demonstrated that a nanotherapy reduces intestinal inflammation and shrinks lesions in a rodent model of severe Crohn’s disease. This approach could become an alternative to biologic antibody therapies that carry many side effects, including increased risk of certain cancers. […]

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Personal Story

‘After my inflammatory bowel disease diagnosis, no one could’ve prepared me for life as a sick mom

Posted: February 24 2021

By Brooke Abbott, as told to Alison Goldman Where do you go when you feel scared, confused, and lonely after a life-altering diagnosis? For many people, the answer is…online. In WH’s 2021 Owning It series, you’ll meet nine self-starters who used social media and digital tools to seek solutions and community they couldn’t find elsewhere. Barriers, broken. The first […]

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Blog

I’m a nutritionist with IBD. These are my 5 favorite foods for gut health

Posted: February 18 2021

By Alexa Federico While there’s not a singular list of foods that everyone with IBD should toss in their grocery carts (food tolerances vary across the board), there are a handful of foods that stand out as my personal favorites for great gut health. Bone broth Bone broth is a food with ancient origins. It’s made by […]

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Blog

Questions people with ulcerative colitis may have about biologics

Posted: February 18 2021

By Korin Miller For some people with ulcerative colitis, biologics are important for managing many painful symptoms, like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fevers. First, here’s a little refresher on why these symptoms occur in the first place. Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease, causes inflammation and ulcers in your colon and rectum; your specific symptoms may vary depending on where […]

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News

Fungi in the gut prime immunity against infection

Posted: February 12 2021

Common fungi, often present in the gut, teach the immune system how to respond to their more dangerous relatives, according to new research from scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine. Breakdowns in this process can leave people susceptible to deadly fungal infections. The study, published Feb. 5 in Cell, reveals a new twist in the complex relationship […]

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News

Study identifies ‘Achilles heel’ of bacteria linked to Crohn’s disease

Posted: February 11 2021

In a study published Feb. 3 in Cell Host and Microbe, the investigators showed that patients with Crohn’s disease have an overabundance of a type of gut bacteria called adherent-invasive Escherichia coli (AIEC), whichpromotes inflammation in the intestine. Their experiments revealed that a metabolite produced by the bacteria interacts with immune system cells in the lining of […]

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