Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is an inflammation of the inner lining of the rectum and large intestine. It can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Sometimes there is a joint, skin or liver disease associated.
Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis requires a series of tests that may include:
- Blood tests
- Upper endoscopy to examine the esophagus, stomach, and upper gastrointestinal tract.
- Upper GI series, also known as a barium swallow that uses x-rays to show outlines of different parts of the bowel.
- Colonoscopy to examine the anus, rectum, and colon
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are managed through medications, and surgery is reserved for patients with disabling symptoms, which are not controlled by medications or those with an increased cancer risk. When surgery is necessary, the entire colon and rectum are removed.