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Quality of life after surgery for ulcerative colitis

Surgery for ulcerative colitis is only done in people with severe disease. Most of the people who have their colon removed to cure severe ulcerative colitis say their quality of life is better after surgery than it was before. Their symptoms of abdominal pain, urgency, and frequent bowel movements go away, and their lives no longer revolve around the bathroom.

  • One study found that quality-of-life scores of people who had proctocolectomy with ileostomy were similar to those of the general population.1
  • A study that followed people with inflammatory bowel disease for up to 6 years found that those who had ileoanal anastomosis for ulcerative colitis rated their quality of life much higher after surgery than before it.2


  1. Camilleri-Brennan J, Steele RJ (2001). Objective assessment of quality of life following panproctocolectomy and ileostomy for ulcerative colitis. Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, 83(5): 321-324.

  2. Thirlby RC, et al. (2001). The long-term benefit of surgery on health-related quality of life in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Archives of Surgery, 136(5): 521-527.

Author Monica Rhodes
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Associate Editor Pat Truman, MATC
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD
- Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP
- Gastroenterology
Last Updated November 14, 2006

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2006
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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