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Ulcerative Colitis – Symptoms

January 30, 2021
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The symptoms of ulcerative colitis depend often on how severe the disease is and the location of the inflammation in the colon. With mild symptoms, patients can have increased frequency of bowel movements with many trips to the bathroom, some rectal discomfort, some mucus in the stools or very mild bleeding in the bowel movements. With more severe symptoms, we see more significant bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, discomfort, as well as systemic conditions, such as anemia, loss of weight and fatigue. While most of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis are prominent in the GI tract, we also see that ulcerative colitis can have what's called extra intestinal manifestations. These are symptoms that occur outside of the colon. These include joint pains or joint diseases, eye problems, such as uveitis, skin problems, such as erythema nodosum. And then also things such as osteoporosis or chronic bone loss. Gallstones, kidney stones are often more frequently also seen in this condition. Classic extra intestinal manifestation is one called primary sclerosing cholangitis or PSC. This is seen in a very small minority of patients with ulcerative colitis, but it can be a significant liver disease that is affiliated with ulcerative colitis. In long-term ulcerative colitis, there is also an increased risk of colon cancer and thus higher screening recommendations for patients who've had longstanding ulcerative colitis.

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