What is colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening condition characterized by inflammation and ulcers in the large intestine. The symptoms develop over a long-period of time and the effects are usually felt over a period of many years.

The severity and impact of colitis varies greatly from person to person. Most people experience mild to moderate symptoms. Although they might experience some discomfort, they are able to go about their normal daily lives. For other people, colitis is severe enough to hinder the individual’s day-to-day activities.



Ulcerative colitis can affect different parts of the large intestine, or colon, as well as the rectum. The signs and symptoms, listed below, may vary depending on the specific location of the inflammation, and on how much of the colon is affected..

  • Rectal pain and the appearance of blood in the stool
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • An urgent need to have a bowel movement, which may be accompanied by an inability to defecate
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue and fever
  • Weight loss that cannot be attributed to any other cause



Most people with colitis experience mild to moderate symptoms, but for some, it can be a debilitating condition. Warning signs of a serious problem include the following:

  • Abdominal cramping that does not ease after defecation
  • Blood in the stool, particularly if it not bright red
  • Diarrhea that interferes with sleep, and that does not respond to over-the-counter remedies
  • Unexplained fever that lasts for more than two days

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