Colitis is inflammation of your colon, also known as your large intestine. If you have colitis, you’ll feel discomfort and pain in your abdomen that may be mild and reoccurring over a long period of time, or severe and appearing suddenly.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is one of two conditions classified as inflammatory bowel disease. The other is Crohn’s disease.
UC is a life-long disease that produces inflammation and bleeding ulcers within the inner lining of your large intestine. It generally begins in your rectum and spreads to your colon.
UC is the most commonly diagnosed type of colitis. It occurs when your immune system overreacts to bacteria and other substances in your digestive tract, but experts don’t know why this happens. Common types of UC include:
Pseudomembranous colitis (PC) occurs from overgrowth of the bacterium Clostridium difficile. This kind of bacteria normally lives in your intestine but doesn’t cause problems because it’s balanced by the presence of “good” bacteria. Certain medications, especially antibiotics, may destroy healthy bacteria. This allows Clostridium difficile to take over, releasing toxins that cause inflammation.
Different risk factors are associated with each type of colitis.
Depending on your condition, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Your outlook depends on the type of colitis you have. UC may require lifelong medication therapy unless you have surgery. Other types, such as IC, may improve without surgery. PC generally responds well to antibiotics but may recur.
In all cases, early detection is critical to recovery. Early detection may help prevent other serious complications. Let your doctor know about any symptoms you’re experiencing.