Skip to content

    Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ulcerative Colitis - When To Call a Doctor

    Call a doctor immediately if you have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and you have:

    • Fever over 101°F (38.3°C) or shaking chills.
    • Lightheadedness, passing out, or rapid heart rate.
    • Stools that are almost always bloody.
    • Severe dehydration, such as passing little or no urine for 12 or more hours.
    • Severe belly pain with or without bloating.
    • Pus draining from the area around the anus or pain and swelling in the anal area.
    • Repeated vomiting.
    • Not passing any stools or gas.

    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 fatal.

    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 > >

    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 usual.
    • You have persistent diarrhea for more than 2 weeks.
    • You have lost weight.

    Watchful waiting

    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 colitis include:

    For the treatment and management of ulcerative colitis, you are likely to be referred to a gastroenterologist.

    To be evaluated for surgery, you may be referred to a:

    To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

    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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    basket of vegetables
    Article
    IBD Overview Slideshow
    Slideshow
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Managing Flares
    Slideshow
    what is ibs
    Article
     

    Supplements UC
    Video
    Ulcerative Colitis Health Check
    Tool
     
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Diet Yogurt
    Article
     

    Ulcerative Colitis Surgery
    Slideshow
    Ulcerative Colitis Medications
    Article
     
    Exercising When You Have A GI Disorder
    Article
    Picture Of The Intestines
    Image Collection