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    Ulcerative Colitis: When Surgery Is Needed - Topic Overview

    Surgery is likely to be needed for ulcerative colitis for the following reasons.

    • Medicines and nutritional therapy have failed to manage severe symptoms.
    • Toxic megacolon does not respond to medical treatment within 4 days (or sooner in some cases).
    • Holes form in the large intestine. (This is called perforation.)
    • You have colon cancer or a significantly increased risk of cancer. (This risk is found by biopsies.) Or you have a narrowing in the intestine that can't be told apart from cancer. You may need surgery even if you don't have symptoms of active disease.
    • Severe, disabling complications occur outside the colon. But many complications do not respond to surgery.
    • You have severe bleeding that requires ongoing blood transfusions.
    • Slow growth or other serious complications occur in children.

    People may choose to have surgery to improve their quality of life, cure ulcerative colitis, or prevent colon cancer.

    Recommended Related to Ulcerative Colitis

    Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

    The symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC) depend on how severe the irritation and swelling are in your colon. They also depend on what part of your colon is affected. Symptoms can come and go. You might not have any for weeks, months, or years, and then they come back. Chances are about 50-50 that the effects of your disease will be mild. Most people with UC have a few common issues.

    Read the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis article > >

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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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