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Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis causes chronic inflammation and sores in the lining of the large intestine.

In addition to causing pain, this can make it harder for the lining to do its usual job of absorbing liquid from stool.

Ulcerative colitis is a common type of inflammatory bowel disease — which is not the same as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Other forms of inflammatory bowel disease include the following:

Ulcerative colitis: what you should know

  • In most cases, ulcerative colitis symptoms begin between the ages of 15 and 30. A small number of older adults also develop the condition.
  • The severity of symptoms can vary widely over time and from person to person. Doctors at Rush can help find the treatments best adapted to your situation.
  • Ulcerative colitis can raise your risk of colon cancer. If you have ulcerative colitis, talk to your doctor about whether you need to be screened for colon cancer.

How can I get help for ulcerative colitis?

These are the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis:

But having these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you have ulcerative colitis. Many other conditions have similar symptoms.

If you have any of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis, make an appointment with your primary care doctor. If your doctor suspects you have ulcerative colitis, he or she may recommend you see a specialist. Experts at Rush can draw on their decades of experience to find the root of your problem. Rush welcomes patients seeking second opinions.

Care for ulcerative colitis at Rush

If you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, your care at Rush might include one or more of the following:

  • Help with making changes to your diet
  • Medications to ease pain and reduce inflammation
  • Biologic therapies to fight ulcerative colitis that has not responded well to other treatments.
  • Surgery to remove damaged portions of your large intestine (recommended for about one-third of people with ulcerative colitis)
  • Counseling to help you cope with the challenges of having ulcerative colitis

Why choose Rush for ulcerative colitis care

  • Rush has an infusion room on site for people who need biologic therapies, which you get through an IV. This means you can see your doctor and get your infusion treatment in a single visit.
  • Colon and rectal surgeons at Rush have helped pioneer several minimally invasive techniques, including colorectal laparoscopy and intestinal robotic surgery. These techniques, which involve smaller incisions, can lead to less pain and shorter recovery times.
  • Rush has psychologists who specialize in helping people cope with gastrointestinal diseases.

Departments and programs that treat this condition