Ulcerative colitis, or UC, is an inflammatory bowel disease that mainly affects the lining of the large intestines, also called colon, and the rectum. Ulcerative colitis sometimes also affects the lower portion of the small intestines. The inflammation causes ulcers which bleed and may also produce mucus and pus.
It is not clear what causes ulcerative colitis. However, immune system reactions, prolonged use of non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), genetic factors and stress are all related to this disease.
The condition runs in families. This means that a person whose close family member has UC is more likely to get it. Ulcerative colitis usually occurs in people aged 15 to 30 years. However, it can also affect people of other ages.
Symptom #1: Diarrhea
Diarrhea is a common ulcerative colitis symptom. This is because the inflammation causes continuous contractions of the colon. This means that whatever gets into the colon is soon forced outwards through the rectum. This is the same reason why you may experience a recurrent urge to empty your bowels.
Additionally, the stools may contain blood or pus or both. This is because the inflammation causes sores and ulcers to form in the lining of the colon. These ulcers may bleed as well as ooze pus. The resultant blood and pus mix with the waste material moves through to the rectum. How often you pass stools, how bloody the stools are besides other symptoms indicate the severity of the ulcerative colitis attack, more frequent diarrhea, more blood in the stools and more pain are indicative of more severe UC.