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Ulcerative colitis

In ulcerative colitis, disease is found in the colon (large intestine) and rectum. With ulcerative colitis inflammation is limited to the superficial (mucosal) layers of the gastrointestinal tract and tends to be even and continuous.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Passage of mucus
  • Diarrhea
  • Urgency
  • Abdominal pain

The types of ulcerative colitis are based on the location within the gastrointestinal tract:

  • Proctitis – inflammation of the rectum only
  • Left sided colitis – inflammation from the rectum
  • Proctosigmoiditis (rectum and sigmoid colon)
  • Pancolitis (inflammation of the whole colon: right, left, transverse, rectum).

View CT image of Ulcerative Colitis (Warning: medical image)

Ulcerative Colitis

View pictures of normal gut and Ulcerative Colitis (Warning: medical images)

Normal illium Normal Illium
Normal rectum and anus Normal rectum and anus
Deep severe ulcerative colitis Deep severe ulcerative colitis
Ulcerative colitis with mucus and puss Ulcerative colitis with mucus and puss
Deep severe ulcerative colitis Deep severe ulcerative colitis

Hints for health: Predicting a flare up is not possible, but early recognition of symptoms and consultation with your doctor results in a better response to treatment.

Continuous (maintenance) treatment to prevent relapses is usually advised


If you are interested in other gastrointestinal-focused information and intervention websites developed and hosted at
Swinburne University of Technology,
please go to:

IBSclinic.org.au for individuals with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Gastroparesisclinic.org for individuals with Gastroparesis


This website and its content is not intended or recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions.

© 2014 Swinburne University of Technology | CRICOS number 00111D