How Do You Know If You Have Ulcerative Colitis?


Quick Answer

An individual may have ulcerative colitis if he has symptoms such as ongoing diarrhea that can't be controlled with over-the-counter medication, abdominal pain, blood in the stool or unexplained fever, according to Mayo Clinic. However, symptoms vary depending on the part of the colon affected, so a doctor's visit is usually required to determine an accurate diagnosis.

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A mild case of ulcerative colitis usually affects only the rectum, Mayo Clinic explains. The condition is considered more severe depending how much of the colon is diseased and how severe the inflammation. Younger patients tend to have the most severe symptoms.

Although anyone can develop it at any age, most cases of ulcerative colitis begin before age 30, Mayo Clinic says. Children who have the condition sometimes stop growing. Some patients may develop the disease later in life, after age 60.

Individuals may be at greater risk for ulcerative colitis if it runs in the family, Mayo Clinic advises. Individuals with parents or siblings with the disease have a greater risk for developing the condition. Although all ethnic backgrounds may have ulcerative colitis, persons of Ashkenazi Jewish decent are at greater risk than the general population.

Most ulcerative colitis patients suffer mild-to-moderate symptoms, Mayo Clinic reports. Patients often have long periods of remission from the disease. It is important to treat ulcerative colitis to avoid serious complications.

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