Ulcerative Colitis



A condition involving the formation of ulcers and inflammation of the innermost layer of the colon and rectum of the digestive tract. 
There are four types of ulcerative colitis classified based on the location of the body:

  • Ulcerative proctitis: affects the rectum or the area closest to the anus
  • Proctosigmoiditis: rectum and the sigmoid colon — the lower end of the colon
  • Left-sided colitis: affects the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon
  • Pancolitis: affects the entire colon

Common Symptoms

Fatigue, fever, nausea, weight loss, diarrhea, passing blood with stool, rectal pain, rectal bleeding, the urgency to defecate, and abdominal pain. 
Symptoms of various forms of ulcerative colitis:

  • Ulcerative proctitis: rectal bleeding is typically the only symptom in this form of the disease
  • Proctosigmoiditis: abdominal cramps and pain, bloody diarrhea, and inability to have a bowel movement despite the urgency to defecate are common symptoms
  • Left-sided colitis: abdominal pain and cramping on the left side, an urgency to defecate, and bloody diarrhea are common symptoms
  • Pancolitis: fatigue, extreme weight loss, severe bloody diarrhea, and abdominal cramps and pain are common symptoms

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Anemia, colorectal cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, lichen planus, and autoimmune hepatitis.

Recent research shows that inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) may lead to the development of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

Ulcerative colitis is more likely to develop between the ages of 15 and 30 years old. Research has also indicated that family history of the disease is a risk factor. Ulcerative colitis is generally more common amongst Caucasians. Jewish populations, specifically Ashkenazi Jews, have a high prevalence of the disease. 


  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Childers, R. E., Eluri, S., Vazquez, C., Weise, R. M., Bayless, T. M., & Hutfless, S. (2014). Family history of inflammatory bowel disease among patients with ulcerative colitis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Crohn’s & colitis, 8(11), 1480–1497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crohns.2014.05.008.

    2. Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). Ulcerative Colitis: Symptoms, Treatment, Living With It & Diagnosis. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10351-ulcerative-colitis

    3. Misra, R., Faiz, O., Munkholm, P., Burisch, J., & Arebi, N. (2018). Epidemiology of inflammatory bowel disease in racial and ethnic migrant groups. World journal of gastroenterology, 24(3), 424–437. https://doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v24.i3.424.

    4. Schiff, E. R., Frampton, M., Semplici, F., Bloom, S. L., McCartney, S. A., Vega, R., Lovat, L. B., Wood, E., Hart, A. L., Crespi, D., Furman, M. A., Mann, S., Murray, C. D., Segal, A. W., & Levine, A. P. (2018). A New Look at Familial Risk of Inflammatory Bowel Disease in the Ashkenazi Jewish Population. Digestive diseases and sciences, 63(11), 3049–3057. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10620-018-5219-9.

    5. Parakala, M. (n.d.). Fatigue, sleep, and IBD – A patient perspective. ImproveCareNow. Retrieved from https://www.improvecarenow.org/fatigue_sleep_and_ibd_a_patient_perspective