Colitis Symptoms

Symptoms of colitis will depend upon the type of colitis that is present, but in general, colitis most often is associated with abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Here are the signs and symptoms that may accompany ulcerative colitis:

• Ulcerative proctitis.  Inflammation is closest to the anus (rectum), and for some people, rectal bleeding may be the only sign of the disease. Others may have rectal pain and a feeling of urgency. This form of ulcerative colitis tends to be the mildest.

• Proctosigmoiditis. This form involves the rectum and the lower end of the colon, known as the sigmoid colon. Bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and an inability to move the bowels in spite of the urge to do so (tenesmus) are common problems associated with this form of the disease.

• Left-sided colitis.  inflammation extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon, which are located in the upper left part of the abdomen. Signs and symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain on the left side.
• Pancolitis. Often affecting the entire colon, pancolitis causes bloody diarrhea that may be severe, abdominal cramps, pain, fatigue, and significant weight loss.

• Fulminant colitis. This life-threatening form of colitis affects the entire colon and causes severe pain, profuse diarrhea and, sometimes, dehydration and shock.
The course of ulcerative colitis varies, with periods of acute illness often alternating with periods of remission. But over time, the severity of the disease usually remains the same. Most people with a milder condition, such as ulcerative proctitis, won't go on to develop more-severe signs and symptoms.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits or if you have any of the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis, such as:

• Abdominal pain

• Blood in your stool

• Ongoing bouts of diarrhea that don't respond to over-the-counter (OTC) medications

• An unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two

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