Diagnoses & Conditions

Ulcerative Colitis

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which abnormal reactions of the immune system cause inflammation and ulcers on the inner lining of the large intestine (also called the colon, and includes the rectum). The ulcers produce pus and mucous, which cause abdominal pain and the need to frequently empty the colon. Ulcerative colitis can develop at any age, but the disease is more likely to develop in people between the ages of 15 and 30.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Symptoms include abdominal pain and discomfort, blood or pus in stool, fever, weight loss and frequent, recurring diarrhea, fatigue, reduced appetite and constant feeling of bowel movement.

Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis

To diagnose ulcerative colitis, it is common to undergo blood tests which include routine blood tests, fecal blood tests and antibody blood tests. Endoscopic tests allow viewing of the colon and anus using a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a camera at the end. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed tomography (CT) scan may also be performed.

Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis

FDA-approved drugs commonly prescribed to reduce signs and symptoms, induce and maintain remission, promote intestinal healing, and reduce or stop the need for steroids in adult patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis who haven't responded well to other therapies include infliximab (e.g., Inflectra®, Remicade®), administered into the blood stream intravenously, and golimumab (Simponi®), administered under the skin subcutaneously.


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