What Is Ulcerative Colitis? Key UC Symptoms to Know

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a disease in which the lining of the colon, also called the large intestine, becomes inflamed. This inflammation destroys the cells that normally line the colon wall. As a result, sores or ulcers develop in those damaged areas.

Experts estimate that over 700,000 Americans have ulcerative colitis and the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable. In this video, Dr. Holly Atkinson explains what someone with UC may experience for the different types of ulcerative colitis. Symptoms of ulcerative colitis might occur only rarely, or they might come and go as part of the chronic condition. You may experience diarrhea or constipation, mild abdominal pain, mucus discharge from the rectum, and occasional bloody bowel movements.

For reasons that are not yet clearly understood, people with UC can also develop inflammation elsewhere beyond the colon. This inflammation often affects large joints like hips and knees that causes swelling and pain.

Dr. Holly Atkinson

This video features Dr. Holly Atkinson. Dr. Holly Atkinson specializes in Internal Medicine and is an award-winning medical journalist. She is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine as well as Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

Duration: 04:42.
Reviewed by: Dr. Preeti Parikh, Dr. Holly Atkinson . Review date: February 01, 2012
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