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Ulcerative Colitis Health Center

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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

Going to College With Ulcerative Colitis

Making the transition to college with ulcerative colitis can feel overwhelming at times. You're dealing with new demands of schoolwork and social life. On top of that, you're adjusting to a new living environment while managing a chronic illness. If you’re living on campus, you may be sharing a dorm room and bathroom. And you’ll want to be careful about eating cafeteria food that triggers ulcerative colitis symptoms. Just because you have UC doesn't mean you can’t thrive in every facet of college...

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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: 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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