Signs and Symptoms

Ulcerative colitis (UC) doesn’t always just affect your intestine. You may experience a number of different symptoms when suffering from UC. If these occur your doctor may call them 'extra-intestinal manifestations'; this just means symptoms you feel that aren’t from your abdominal region.
The important thing to remember with all your UC symptoms (intestinal and extra-intestinal) is that they may get worse or come back if you don’t take your medication.

interactive tool introduction Hover over body part target for information Choose Upper or lower body
interactive tool upper body picture To find out more click on the targets Upper Body
interactive tool upper body picture To find out more click on the targets Upper Body
Interactive ulcerative colitis body tool Interactive ulcerative colitis body tool Abdominal Cramps Anaemia Dehydration Diarrhoea Extreme Tiredness Eye Problems Joints Joints Mouth Ulcers Signs and Symptoms Skin Problems Weight Loss

Welcome to the interactive body tool for the signs and symptoms of UC.

To find out how UC can affect the different body areas of your body click on the targets.

You may experience abdominal cramps, these can be uncomfortable and painful.1 To relieve cramping try to avoid wearing tight clothing around your stomach and use an hot water bottle.

This can occur if you lose a lot of blood in your stool.2 Iron supplements or foods that are high in iron such as: red meats, leafy-green vegetables and whole grains may be a good addition to your diet. Again, discuss this with your doctor.

This can occur if you experience a lot of diarrhoea.3 It is important to replace the fluids you have lost through diarrhoea, you can do this by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.

Diarrhoea is a very common symptom of UC. It often contains blood, mucus and pus.1 Do not be alarmed by this but make sure you report all your symptoms to your doctor.

This can be because of your illness, as well as lack of sleep, due to pain and diarrhoea.4 Try not to spend too long in your bed even if you are unwell. When you are ready to sleep try reading a book to help you drop off. Scented candles can be relaxing too.

Your eyes can become sore, red and inflamed when your disease is active.2 Avoid wearing contact lenses and eye make-up at these times. Rinsing your eyes with warm water may help. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist as they may be able to recommend eye drops or an eye cream.

Inflammation of the joints or arthritis can also affect sufferers of severe UC.2 If you experience pain in your joints consult your doctor, they will be able to advise you on a suitable treatment.

Painful mouth ulcers can affect you when your disease is active.2 Rinsing your mouth out with warm salty water may help, otherwise speak to your doctor or pharmacists, they may be able to recommend a suitable ulcer treatment.

Painful red swellings, usually on your legs, can appear when your disease is active.2 Your doctor will be able to advise you if this happens, so make sure you inform them of all your symptoms.

Feeling generally unwell may cause you to lose your appetite.1 It is important that you try to eat a healthy diet; certain foods may aggravate your condition so speak to your doctor about this.