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Types of Ulcerative Colitis

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If you are diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, the symptoms and complications of your disease will vary depending on the extent of the disease. It’s important to understand which type of ulcerative colitis you have and how it will affect you.

In addition to ulcerative colitis, there are several other types of ulcerative colitis. The following is a description of the different types of ulcerative colitis and descriptions of common symptoms and complications for each:

Ulcerative Proctitis
For approximately 30% of all patients with ulcerative colitis, the illness begins as ulcerative proctitis. In this form of the disease, bowel inflammation is limited to the rectum. Because of its limited extent (usually less than the six inches of the rectum), ulcerative proctitis tends to be a milder form of ulcerative colitis. It is associated with fewer complications and offers a better outlook than more widespread disease.

Proctosigmoiditis
Colitis affecting the rectum and the sigmoid colon, the lower segment of colon located right above the rectum. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, cramps, and a constant feeling of the need to pass stool, known as tenesmus. Moderate pain on the lower left side of the abdomen may occur in active disease.

Left-sided Colitis
Continuous inflammation that begins at the rectum and extends as far as a bend in the colon near the spleen called the splenic flexure. Symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, severe pain on the left side of the abdomen, and bleeding.

Pan-ulcerative (total) Colitis
Affects the entire colon. Symptoms include diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, cramps, and extensive weight loss. Potentially serious complications include massive bleeding and acute dilation of the colon (toxic megacolon), which may lead to an opening in the bowel wall. Serious complications may require surgery.

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