Skip to Content

Ulcerative Colitis


Ulcerative colitis

is a chronic disease of the colon. Ulcers form on the inner lining of your colon and cause bleeding and inflammation.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Fatigue and pale skin
  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Loss of bowel movement control
  • Slow growth and development in children

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You have a fast heart rate, fast breathing, or are too dizzy to stand up.
  • You have severe abdominal pain.
  • Your vomit has blood in it or looks like coffee grounds.
  • You see blood in your bowel movement.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever, chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have abdominal pain that does not go away or gets worse after you take medicine.
  • Your abdomen is swollen.
  • You lose weight without trying.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis

may include medicine to decrease inflammation and control your immune system. You may need surgery to remove all or part of your colon.

Manage ulcerative colitis:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. This helps you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Do not eat foods that make your symptoms worse. Your healthcare provider may give you vitamins or minerals to improve your nutrition if you have severe ulcerative colitis.
  • Drink liquids as directed. Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk. Do not drink alcohol. This can make your symptoms worse.
  • Get more exercise. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help prevent constipation, decrease your blood pressure, and improve your health.
  • Manage stress. Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.
  • Do not take NSAID medicines. NSAIDs can cause flare-ups. Flare-ups are when your symptoms become worse.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Keep a written record of your bowel movements. Include the color, form, and if they were bloody. Bring the record to your follow-up visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Ulcerative Colitis (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference