What are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

Here's how healthcare professionals identify and diagnose ulcerative colitis

Watch a video that will help you better understand ulcerative colitis: the symptoms, how it's diagnosed, and how it can affect your lifestyle.

  • Most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis
  • While the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC) can be different for each person, here are some of the most frequent symptoms people can experience.1,2 Be sure to tell your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

    • More urgent bowel movements
    • Frequent diarrhea
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Abdominal pain
    • Cramping
    • Fatigue
    • Loss of appetite
    • Unexpected weight loss

    People with UC often call the periods when they experience symptoms "flares" or "flare ups." When they are not experiencing any symptoms, it is known as "remission." These periods of remission may last a few months or even a few years.1

    The symptoms of UC can be unpredictable, returning when you least expect them. That’s why having UC can impact work, school, and social lives, leading to feelings of isolation for some people.3-5

  • Other possible symptoms of ulcerative colitis
  • Symptoms of UC may not revolve only around the GI tract. Some people also may experience symptoms that don't seem related to the GI tract at all.6 These symptoms may include:

    • Redness, pain, and itchiness in the eyes
    • Mouth sores
    • Swelling and pain in the joints
    • Skin issues, such as tender bumps, painful ulcerations, and other sores/rashes
    • Osteoporosis of the bones
    • Kidney stones
  • Is it ulcerative colitis, or maybe another condition?
  • UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (also known as IBD). The 2 most common inflammatory bowel diseases are UC and Crohn's disease.7 While these conditions share some similar symptoms, there are distinct differences that affect how they are managed and treated.8

    In people with UC, inflammation affects the large intestine; while in Crohn's disease, it can affect the entire digestive tract. In addition, the inflammation of UC only affects the lining of the colon, but Crohn's disease can affect all levels of the bowel wall.10

    The symptoms of UC can sometimes be confused with irritable bowel syndrome, also known as IBS. IBS is a condition that can produce some symptoms similar to those of UC, but it is not the same condition, and involves very different treatments.1,11

    If you think you are experiencing these conditions, visit your doctor right away. Only a full examination by a doctor can determine what is causing your symptoms, as well as available treatments.

  • Back to top
  • Causes of UC
  • References

  • 1.
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. What is ulcerative colitis. http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-ulcerative-colitis. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 2.
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Managing Flares and Other IBD Symptoms. http://www.ccfa.org/assets/pdfs/flares_brochure_final.pdf. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 4.
    Ghosh S, Mitchell R. Impact of inflammatory bowel disease on quality of life: results of the European Federation of Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis Associations (EFCCA) patient survey. J Crohns Colitis. 2007;1:10-20.
  • 3.
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Teen Guide: Dealing with Crohn's & Colitis. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/teen-guide.html. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 5.
    Data on file. Rockaway, NJ: Warner Chilcott (US), LLC.
  • 6.
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Living with Ulcerative Colitis. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/living-ulcerative-colitis.html. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 7.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). http://www.cdc.gov/ibd/. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 8.
    Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America. Diagnosing and Managing IBD. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/diagnosing-and-managing-ibd.html. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 9.
    Johns Hopkins Medicine Gastroenterology & Hepatology. Crohn's Disease: Introduction. https://gi.jhsps.org/GDL_Disease.aspx?CurrentUDV=31&GDL_Cat_ID=024CC2E1-2AEB-4D50-9E02-C79825C9F9BF&GDL_Disease_ID=291F2209-F8A9-4011-8094-11EC9BF3100E. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 10.
    Genetics Home Reference. Ulcerative colitis. http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/ulcerative-colitis. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • 11.
    Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. IBS and IBD: Two Very Different Disorders. http://www.ccfa.org/resources/ibs-and-ibd-two-very.html. Accessed January 7, 2015.
  • See More Important Risk Information


    Who should not take DELZICOL?

    • Do not take DELZICOL if you are allergic to:
      • salicylates, such as aspirin or medications that contain aspirin
      • aminosalicylates
      • any of the ingredients of DELZICOL

    What should I tell my healthcare provider before taking DELZICOL?

    Tell your healthcare provider if you:

    • Have or have had kidney problems
    • Are allergic to sulfasalazine
    • Have or have had heart-related allergic reactions, such as inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or inflammation of the lining of the heart (pericarditis)
    • Have or have had liver problems
    • Have or have had a stomach blockage
    • Have any other medical conditions

    What are the possible side effects of DELZICOL?

    DELZICOL may cause serious side effects, including:

    • Kidney problems: Your doctor may check to see how your kidneys are working before taking DELZICOL. It is important to complete all blood tests ordered by your doctor.
    • A condition that may be hard to tell apart from a UC flare: Symptoms include cramping, stomachache, bloody diarrhea, and sometimes fever, headache, and rash. If you experience any of these symptoms while on treatment, call your doctor right away. He or she may tell you to stop taking DELZICOL.
    • Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions: If signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity occur, immediately call your doctor.
    • Liver failure: In patients that have or have had liver disease.
    • Blood Disorders: Elderly patients and patients taking azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine need to monitor complete blood cell counts and platelet counts while taking DELZICOL.

    The most common side effects of DELZICOL include:

    • Adults: belching, stomachache, constipation, dizziness, runny nose, back pain, rash, upset stomach, and flu symptoms.
    • Children (5 to 17 years of age): inflammation of the nose and pharynx, headache, stomachache, dizziness, inflammation of the sinuses, rash, cough, diarrhea, tiredness, fever, and increased lipase.

    Tell your doctor if you have any side effect that bothers you or does not go away. These are not all the possible side effects of DELZICOL.

    Before starting DELZICOL, tell your doctor about all medications you are taking, including:

    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Taking these medications with DELZICOL may increase your risk of kidney problems.
    • Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. Taking these medications with DELZICOL may increase your risk of blood disorders.

    What is DELZICOL?

    DELZICOL (mesalamine) delayed-release capsules is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of mildly to moderately active ulcerative colitis (UC) in patients 5 years of age and older and for the maintenance of remission of UC in adults.

    Please see full Prescribing Information for DELZICOL.

    To report a side effect from one of our products, please call the Allergan Drug Safety Department at 1-800-678-1605.


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