Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the colon, leading to a range of painful signs and symptoms, both in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and in other parts of the body. The condition causes long-term inflammation of the cells that line the colon, resulting in sores called ulcers. Like most autoimmune diseases, UC has no known cure, but treatment can significantly reduce the signs and symptoms of the disease and possibly even lead to long-term remission.
The signs of ulcerative colitis affect people differently, and about half of the patients diagnosed with the condition only have minor symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms often develop over time, rather than suddenly, which could result in increased tolerance for the discomfort associated with symptoms. If you experience any of these warning signs for ulcerative colitis, consult your healthcare provider.
According to Rabia De Latour, M.D. at NYU Langone Health in New York City, abdominal pain is normal in ulcerative colitis, but the severity varies from patient to patient. It can range from occasional and mild to frequent and severe with many reporting cramping and dull aches.