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Ulcerative Colitis: Problems Outside the Digestive Tract - Topic Overview

Complications of ulcerative colitis can include: 1

  • Arthritis, in 5 to 20 out of 100 people. Some people develop colitis-related arthritis, which may resemble rheumatoid arthritis. In people who have ulcerative colitis, inflammation limited to the lower joints of the spine (sacroiliitis) is more common than ankylosing spondylitis, another type of arthritis that affects the spine and lower back.
  • Eye symptoms such as inflammation of the iris and blood vessels (uveitis), and inflammation of the white part of the eyes (episcleritis). Treatment of ulcerative colitis with corticosteroid medicines may increase the risk of cataracts. Eye problems occur in less than 10 out of 100 people who have ulcerative colitis.
  • Skin conditions such as mouth ulcers, erythema nodosum, and pyoderma gangrenosum. Both erythema nodosum and pyoderma gangrenosum are relatively rare. About 10 out of 100 people with ulcerative colitis develop mouth ulcers.
  • Problems with blood clots in the legs or other areas of the body.
  • Liver problems, including chronic hepatitis and inflammation of the tissues around the bile ducts.

Ulcerative colitis can also cause growth problems in children. Affected children may not grow as quickly or as tall as their peers. Children with ulcerative colitis need attention to their diet to ensure that they get enough nutrients.

Recommended Related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease

10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Inflammatory Bowel Disease

After a diagnosis with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you'll have plenty of questions. You may not remember them all, so WebMD has prepared 10 questions for you to print out and take to your next doctor appointment.     1. Could any condition other than IBD be causing my symptoms? 2. Do I have ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease? 3. What parts of my digestive system are affected at this point? 4. What medications do you...

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    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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