Call a doctor immediately if you have been diagnosed with
ulcerative colitis and you have:
101°F (38.3°C) or shaking
Lightheadedness, passing out, or rapid heart
Stools that are almost always bloody.
dehydration, such as passing little or no urine for 12 or more hours.
Severe belly pain with or
Pus draining from the area around the
anus or pain and swelling in the anal
Not passing any stools or
If you have any of these symptoms and you have been
diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, your disease may have become significantly
worse. Some of these symptoms also may be signs of
toxic megacolon. This is a condition in which the colon swells
to many times its normal size. Toxic megacolon requires emergency treatment.
Left untreated, it can cause the colon to leak or rupture. This can be
Whenever Serena Ehrlich goes someplace new, she scouts out the location of the bathroom. That's because Ehrlich, 38, a Los Angeles-based salesperson for a commercial wire service, has ulcerative colitis. She developed the disease 12 years ago and has been in remission for the past three. Still, the old habit lingers. "Everyone who has ulcerative colitis will tell you that when you walk into a bookstore, a shop, or a restaurant, that's the one thing you want to know first. It's our rule of thumb."
People with ulcerative colitis usually know their
normal pattern of symptoms. Call your doctor if there is a change in your usual
symptoms or if:
Your symptoms become significantly worse than
You have persistent diarrhea for more than 2
You have lost weight.
Watchful waiting is not appropriate when you
have any of the above symptoms. If your symptoms are caused by ulcerative
colitis, delaying the diagnosis and treatment may make the disease worse. And it can
increase your risk of other problems.
Even when the disease is in
remission, your doctor will want to see you regularly to check for
complications. Some of these problems can be hard to detect. It is always a good idea to
call your doctor's office for advice.
Who to see
Health professionals who can diagnose ulcerative