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Types of Ulcerative Colitis - Topic Overview

The severity of ulcerative colitis is determined by certain criteria.1Ulcerative colitis can be classified as mild, moderate, severe, or fulminant (very severe), which may guide treatment choices.

People who have mild ulcerative colitis may have:

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  • Fewer than four bowel movements (stools) a day.
  • No bleeding or a small amount of bleeding with stools.
  • Normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR).

People who have mild ulcerative colitis do not have fever, rapid heartbeat, or anemia.

People who have moderate ulcerative colitis may have:

  • More than four stools a day.
  • Mild elevation in ESR.

People who have severe ulcerative colitis may have:

  • More than six bloody stools a day (loose stools).
  • Fever, rapid heartbeat, and anemia.
  • An elevated ESR.

People who have fulminant ulcerative colitis may have:

  • More than 10 stools a day (loose stools).
  • Constant bleeding from the rectum.
  • Fever, rapid heartbeat, and anemia.
  • Cramping belly pain and bloating.
  • An expanded colon (as seen on an X-ray).
  • A need for blood transfusions.

Flare-ups can be so severe that they require hospitalization.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: October 08, 2012
    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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