Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes ongoing inflammation and ulcers (open sores) in the innermost layers of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The ulcers bleed and produce pus and mucus, and the inflammation causes the colon to empty frequently, causing diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis is similar to Crohn disease, another IBD. Crohn disease can happen anywhere in the digestive tract, often in patches, and can spread deeper into tissues. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, is usually confined to the innermost layers of tissue and is uniform throughout the colon. Ulcerative colitis can be painful and have life-threatening complications.

Although ulcerative colitis condition most commonly affects people between the ages of 10 to 20, with a smaller peak at 50 to 80 years of age, infants and children may also develop the disease. Ulcerative colitis occurs 5 times more frequently in those with a Jewish heritage than it does in the general population. There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, but diet and medications can help control the disease.

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Review Date: 8/6/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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