Ulcerative colitis

  • The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract (the gut) and other organs that help your body break down and absorb food. It is a long, twisting tube that starts at the mouth and goes all the way to the anus.
  • There are currently 100,000 people in Australia with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis and this number is expected to rise into the future. 
  • Ulcerative colitis is most common in Caucasians but it can affect people from any racial group.
  • More than 200 genes have been connected to inflammatory bowel disease.
  • After 30 years of having ulcerative colitis, approximately 35% of people may need surgery to treat the disease. 

About ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of IBD that can cause inflammation and ulceration in the large intestine (colon and rectum). Inflammation can cause redness, swelling and pain, and is the body’s response to injury or irritation. Ulcers (sores) also develop on the surface of the intestines inner lining which may bleed and produce mucus. 

stomach pain

Ulcerative colitis symptoms

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be different for each person and may be serious or mild. Symptoms will depend on how much of the large intestine has become inflamed and how strong the inflammation is. 

doctor pointing at stomach

Ulcerative colitis diagnosis

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are similar to many other conditions so several tests will likely be needed before you can get a diagnosis. In many cases doctors will want to make sure that your symptoms aren’t caused by an infection or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 


Ulcerative colitis treatment

The aim of treatment is to reduce symptoms, inflammation and stay in remission so that the body can heal itself. Since ulcerative colitis affects everyone differently, each person will need to work with their healthcare team to discover what works best for them. Treatment may also need to change over time if they become less effective.