Skip to main content

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition in which symptoms vary from person to person and will range from mild to severe.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Ulcerative colitis symptoms include:

  • frequent, watery diarrhoea often containing blood, mucus and pus
  • sense of urgency to have a bowel movement (especially when the rectum is involved)
  • cramped abdominal pain (often because of constipation in unaffected parts of the colon)
  • tiredness, fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss.

As the lining of the colon becomes more and more inflamed, it loses its ability to absorb water from the liquid waste that passes through from the ileum. This leads to watery diarrhoea, often containing mucus and pus. Among those affected, many will feel cramped abdominal pain and a strong urgency to have frequent bowel movements. It is common to feel tired and easily fatigued, especially during active phases of the disease. The tiny ulcers in the intestinal lining can easily crack open and bleed. Over time, blood loss can lead to a significant decrease in the number of red blood cells (a condition known as anaemia), which adds to the tiredness and fatigue.

It is not uncommon for those with ulcerative colitis to lose their appetite or to simply avoid eating in order to prevent further symptoms. A lack of adequate nutrition however will worsen the tiredness and fatigue and will eventually lead to weight loss. Children with ulcerative colitis might fail to develop or grow properly, particularly if they have long periods of active disease and/or receive frequent or prolonged treatment with high doses of corticosteroids (and other ulcerative colitis medications).

In addition to symptoms in the GI tract, ulcerative colitis can also cause symptoms in other parts of the body. These include:

  • red itchy eyes
  • sores in the mouth
  • swollen and painful joints
  • bumps or lesions on the skin (erythema nodosum)
  • thinning of the bones (osteoporosis)
  • kidney stones
  • a type of hepatitis called primary sclerosing cholangitis.

 

Additional Information:

The latest news and Research

News

Snack ideas for Crohn’s disease

Posted: November 14 2019

During remission When symptoms are in remission, it is important to eat a nutrient-rich diet, which should include: Fiber: However, high fiber diets are not good for some people with Crohn’s. Protein: Stick with sources of lean protein, such as fish, eggs, nuts, and tofu. Calcium: Choose lactose free products, if dairy is a trigger, […]

Read more

Personal Story

“They told me candies, milkshakes, and pizza were all fine”

Posted: November 14 2019

Scott Lippman was on a vacation with his wife in Central America in 2013 when he suddenly got sick. “We were nervous about it, so we cut the trip short,” says Lippman. Back home in New York, though, he wasn’t getting better. In fact, little by little, he was getting worse. “I was losing weight. […]

Read more

Research

Patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease demonstrate increased risk for psychiatric illnesses

Individuals with ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn disease (CD) are more likely to have depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease, including UC and CD, have been shown to be at increased risk for psychiatric illnesses, although most previous studies have had limited patient populations. The researchers retrospectively reviewed a large commercial database of information collected between 2013 and 2019 to better define the epidemiology of several psychiatric illnesses (depression, anxiety, bipolar […]

Read more

Personal Story

How to become a loud, proud advocate for people with ulcerative colitis

Posted: November 14 2019

When I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) in 2012, I sensed my life was going to change drastically — and not just because of the everyday work of managing my symptoms. My feelings were confirmed when I was admitted for my first long hospital stay, during which I learned I had pancolitis, a form […]

Read more

News

Australia’s enthusiasm for medicinal emu oil takes flight, as producers push to keep up with demand

Posted: November 12 2019

Veteran emu farmer Wayne Piltz said the market has grown significantly in recent years, but production has not risen with it. Mr Piltz, now the only emu farmer in South Australia, currently has about 1,000 chicks at his Moorook farm in the state’s Riverland region. “It’s just got to the stage where there’s a lot […]

Read more

Personal Story

Lemonade stand helps fight Cronh’s disease

Posted: November 12 2019

On the Friday before Labor Day, a quiet side street in Canton, Massachusetts, is buzzing with activity. Cars line both sides of the street, and kids ride their bikes back and forth. Local firetrucks and police cars sound their alarms in celebration. In fact, it seems the entire town of Canton has descended upon the […]

Read more