The large intestine can be described as the garbage storehouse of the body. It is in the large intestine that most of the waste materials of the body are stored before elimination. These waste materials are chiefly the byproducts of the digestive process. The large intestine consists of the colon, which is situated at the top of the rectum. In most vertebrates, the colon is the last part of the digestive system. Its function is to extract the water and salts from the waste materials that accumulate in the large intestine, before being eliminated from the body. It is also at the colon that the unabsorbed waste material is fermented by the body flora, which consists mostly of bacteria. So, as you can see that if the function of the colon is hampered then the entire digestive tract must bear the brunt. However, due to some factors there develops ulcers and inflammation in the inner lining of the colon. This results in the disease, which is known as ulcerative colitis or simply colitis. The exact cause of this digestive disease is not known, though some physicians say that it can be caused due to bacterial infections. Ulcerative colitis, like the other intestinal inflammation disease, known as Crohn's disease, is also chronic, and the symptoms can last from several years to decades, and the disease mostly occurs in early adulthood, and sometimes during the childhood. To know more on the symptoms of this disease read below.
Signs & Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
- The most common symptom of ulcerative colitis is diarrhea. The diarrhea is persistent and recurrent. The stools are generally watery in nature and most of the times these are accompanied by thick blood. The bleeding in this case is not red smears, which results from a bleeding hemorrhoid.
- Along with the stool, mucus and pus is also passed. Mucus and pus also occurs if the stool is of normal consistency.
- There is severe abdominal pain due to ulcerative colitis. The pain is crampy and occurs on one side of the abdomen. This happens because the rectum moves to the left side and connects to the rest of the colon.
- Sometimes the abdominal pain and cramps subsides if there is any bowel movement. There is also always a constant urge to have bowel movement.
- Like other inflammatory diseases, ulcerative colitis also leads to fever due to the inflammation process. During the acute phase, the fever can flare up but in most cases, there is only a low grade and persistent fever.
- The fever also results in fatigue and irritability. The fever can also be erratic. The patient may have fever, not continuously, as the fever can come every day most commonly during the later part of the day. Sometimes the fever can also occur during sleep causing night sweats.
- There are some symptoms that are not related to the colon but can point towards ulcerative colitis. The most common is the pain in the joints, mostly the larger joints like knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders and wrists. The pain can also move from one joint to the other.
- There is also the formation of skin lesions like red nodules in the shins and calves. These nodules also have a tender appearance.
- Sometimes painful sores can also occur inside the mouth. The eye also tends to get inflamed especially the iris. There is also reddening of the eye.
- Another symptom of ulcerative colitis is loss of appetite. As a result, there is also a significant weight loss. Due to the loss of body fluids and nutrients, the patient also tends to become very weak. The patient also undergoes tremendous fatigue.
- In children, it can also lead to the stoppage of growth.