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Pancolitis - Symptoms of ulcerative colitis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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These can vary depending on how much of the colon is affected and the level of inflammation.

Common symptoms include

  • abdominal pain
  • bloody diarrhoea with mucus

There may also be

  • tiredness and fatigue 
  • appetite and weight loss
  • anaemia (shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, tiredness and pale skin)
  • a high temperature (fever) of or above 38C (100.4F)
  • dehydration 
  • a constant desire to empty the bowels (known as tenesmus)

Symptoms are often worse first thing in the morning.

Many people living with the condition will have long periods of months or years where they experience very few, or no, symptoms. However, in all cases, without treatment symptoms will eventually return.

No specific trigger that causes the return of symptoms has been identified, although it is thought stress may play a factor.

When to seek medical advice

If you experience a severe flare-up of symptoms you may need to be admitted to hospital as a precaution.

A severe flare-up is usually described as passing six or more blood stools in one day and having symptoms that suggest you are very unwell such as fever, rapid heartbeat and anaemia.

If you think you may be having a severe flare-up, contact your GP or the doctor in charge of your care for advice. If this is not possible then call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47 or your local out-of-hours service.  

Acute means occuring suddenly or over a short period of time.
Dehydration is an excessive loss of fluids and minerals from the body.
Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent watery stools when you go to the toilet.
Fatigue is extreme tiredness and lack of energy.
A high temperature, also known as a fever, is when someone's body temperature goes above the normal 37C (98.6F).
Loss of appetite
Loss of appetite is when you do not feel hungry or want to eat.
Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
Medical Review: April 16, 2012
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