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


Risk for reduced bone mineral density in patients with ulcerative colitis

Patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) have reduced bone mineral density (BMD), regardless of steroid use, according to results from a meta-analysis.

In order to assess the relationship between UC and BMD, the investigators collected data from 13 cross-sectional studies published before August 2019 by searching PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Library. The meta-analysis comprised 570 patients with UC and 584 control individuals. The included studies, when pooled, indicated a decrease in BMD in patients with UC on the […]

Read more

Personal Story

Tahlia Giumelli reveals her private battle with Crohn’s

Posted: March 30 2020

MISS Universe Australia finalist Tahlia Giumelli had to reveal her private battle to her new boyfriend, Rabbitohs star Tom Burgess, before they began dating. Giumelli, who will compete for the prestigious crown in Bali in June, lives with Crohn’s disease, which she has battling since 2013. The 24-year-old has been dating Burgess for six months […]

Read more


Cumulative doses of oral steroids associated with increased hypertension

Posted: March 24 2020

In a cohort of 71,642 patients (mean age, 51 years; 38% men; 86% white) diagnosed with one of six chronic inflammatory diseases — inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatica, giant cell arteritis, vasculitis or systemic lupus erythematosus — 34.8% developed hypertension during a median follow-up of 6.6 years. Researchers found that compared with periods of nonuse, […]

Read more

Personal Story

What it’s really like having a disability no one can see

Posted: March 20 2020

My name is Billie and I live with a chronic invisible illness and disability. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) at the age of 20. UC is a gut condition that effects the large intestine; causing bleeding, inflammation and ulcers along the colon. Ulcerative Colitis is also under the umbrella term ‘Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)’ and […]

Read more


Antidepressants could ease pain for sufferers of inflammatory bowel disease

Posted: March 19 2020

Deakin University Associate Professor of Psychology Antonina Mikocka-Walus says more needed to be known about prescribing antidepressants for IBD, including for those who do not have anxiety or depression. While between 10 per cent and 30 per cent of people with IBD use antidepressants in Western countries it is unclear how many take them specifically […]

Read more


Telehealth assists infection control

Posted: March 18 2020

The six-month measure is part of the government’s plan to address the pandemic, allowing eligible Australians to access essential health services from their home while in quarantine or self-isolation. It is hoped that the strategy will reduce the risk of viral exposure to vulnerable members of the community. Who is eligible for telehealth services? People […]

Read more