Blaming it on daily stress or something you eat is easy. But if you are frequently afflicted with bathroom problems – bloating, urgency and particularly alternative diarrhea and constipation, abdominal pain, and bleeding — it can be a sign of a more serious bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can cause long-lasting inflammation, swelling, and ulceration in your large intestine and rectum. It can cause debilitating symptoms and may even result in life-threatening complications, so it is vital to get to a doctor when you experience symptoms.
Exact numbers on how widespread ulcerative colitis is hard to find, but the CDC reports that about 3.1 million Americans (or 1.3 percent) suffers from IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), which involves both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
IBD is known to cause chronic inflammation and ulcer formation in the intestine. However, you should not confuse it with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a recurring disease causing muscle contractions in the large intestine. Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC) are two primary types of inflammatory bowel diseases. Both bowel conditions share some similar symptoms, but the major difference is the location of the affected area: Crohn’s disease causes inflammation and ulceration in the digestive tract, whereas ulcerative colitis is mostly confined to the colon and the rectum.
1Symptoms of ulcerative colitis
Below are some of the most common and distressing signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
Alternative Diarrhea and Constipation
Diarrhea is among the most common outbreaks of infection. If you have an infection that can arise in Crohn’s disease and involve the small or large intestine, it’s more likely to be rice-like or watery. Diarrhea can be painful when there is inflammation in the large intestine.
At some point in a year-long study, 63 percent of respondents with Crohn’s disease and 38 percent of those with ulcerative colitis reported diarrhea. It was the most common symptom in a flare that occurred in more than 84 percent of respondents.
Alternative diarrhea and constipation may be a symptom that may cause complications secondary to IBD, or as a side effect of the medications that you take. In particular, constipation may result from an anal fissure. Opioid pain relievers and iron supplements can also cause it.