(UC; Colitis, Ulcerative)
DefinitionUlcerative colitis (UC) is a type of severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which causes:
- Inflammation in the lining of the colon and rectum
- Ulcers in the lining of the colon and rectum
- Bleeding in the lining of the colon and rectum
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CausesThe exact cause is unknown. A virus or bacteria may cause the immune system to overreact and damage the colon and rectum.
Risk FactorsHaving a family member with IBD (includes UC and Crohn's disease) may increase your risk of developing UC.
SymptomsUC may cause:
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Fatigue, weakness
- Skin rashes
- Eye inflammation, such as uveitis
- Fistula—abnormal passageway between 2 bodily structures
- Excess bleeding
- Toxic megacolon—a potentially life-threatening condition when the colon severely expands, which may result in reduced blood flow
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