Health Topics

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the illnesses called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These two diseases are very much alike.

In ulcerative colitis, the inner lining of the large intestine or bowel (colon) and the rectum become inflamed (irritated or raw and swollen). Ulcerative colitis can affect the entire colon, but it is usually in the rectum and the lower part of the colon. Swelling from ulcerative colitis can make the colon empty often, which causes diarrhea. The colon becomes ulcerated, causing bleeding.

Gastrointestinal Tract

Crohn's disease is usually in the lower part of the small intestine or bowel (ileum). However, it can affect any part of the digestive tract, from where food is taken in (the mouth) to where food comes out (the anus).

About 1 million Americans have IBD, inflammatory bowel disease. IBD is more common in Caucasians. People of all age groups can get ulcerative colitis, but it usually begins between the ages of 15 and 30. Ulcerative colitis affects males and females equally.

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Ulcerative Colitis Causes

Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis

Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

Clinical Trials


Watch a Video

In a film created by Jesse Dylan, care providers participating in ImproveCareNow discuss how the program's collaborative approach is improving the health of children with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Last Updated: 10/2011