Most people think of Crohn’s disease if someone tells them, they suffer from bowel disease, but there are more inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). One of them is called ulcerative colitis (UC). Together they are the most common types of inflammatory bowel disease in North America and Europe and affect about 1 in 250 people. Medical research estimates that about 6 to 9 hundred thousand people in the United States alone suffer from this chronic disease. Unfortunately, UC is chronic, which means there is no cure. This makes it important to diagnose the disease in its stages because the sooner someone starts treatment, the better symptoms can be managed.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
UC – short for ulcerative colitis – is a bowel disease that causes irritation & infections, like open sores, in your large intestine. This often starts in the rectum and may spread to the rest of the colon, this varies per case. Sometimes the inflammation doesn’t spread to other parts of the colon and in other cases, the inflammation is spread all over.
Types of Ulcerative Colitis
The medical term for when the inflammation is just in the rectum and lower part of the colon is ‘ulcerative pancolitis.’ This is called a mild form of UC. When the entire colon is infected we call this extensive colitis or pancolitis and when only the left side of the colon is affected, it’s called distal or left-sided ulcerative colitis. Pancolitis is considered a severe form of UC. Also, the location of the inflammation in the large intestine plays a big part in how severe this bowel disease is, but this also varies per person. Someone can have severe symptoms, because of severe inflammation in the lower part of the colon and experience mild to moderate symptoms in the rest of the intestine, because there is only a little bit of inflammation. Continue reading on the next page and find out, among others, how you can recognize ulcerative colitis and when you’re at risk of developing it.