Ulcerative colitis may be Reference mild, moderate, or severe.
Most people have periods of remission (when the condition is not active) that may last up to several years. These periods are interrupted by occasional flare-ups of moderate symptoms. About 5 to 10 out of 100 people who have ulcerative colitis have symptoms all the time.Reference 1
Children may have the same symptoms that adults have. Also, children with the disease may grow more slowly than normal and go through puberty later than expected.
Complications and long-term effects
Problems from ulcerative colitis can include:
- Narrowed areas of the intestine (strictures). They can make it hard to pass stools.
- Increased Reference risk of cancer of the colon and rectum. This risk is higher than average if you have had ulcerative colitis for 8 years or longer.
- Reference Complications outside the digestive tract. These include joint pain, skin problems, and eye problems.
- The colon swelling to many times its normal size. This is called Reference toxic megacolon Opens New Window. It's rare, but it needs treatment right away.
- Other Reference rare complications, such as scarring of the bile ducts and the Reference pancreas Opens New Window.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Some people who have ulcerative colitis also have Reference irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) Opens New Window. It isn't as serious as ulcerative colitis. IBS causes belly pain along with diarrhea or constipation.
Pregnancy and ulcerative colitis
Most women with ulcerative colitis can have a Reference normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Symptoms may be worse during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Some medicines to treat the disease can be used during pregnancy.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference October 8, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology