Ulcerative Colitis Treatment

How Is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?

Treatment for ulcerative colitis can include medicine, changes in your diet, or surgery. These treatments won't cure your ulcerative colitis, unless you have surgery that removes the colon and rectum, which is considered curative, but they can help ease your symptoms.

It's important to get treated for ulcerative colitis as soon as you start having symptoms. If you have severe diarrhea and bleeding, you might need to go the hospital to prevent or treat dehydration, reduce your symptoms, and make sure you're getting the right nutrition.

Medications for Ulcerative Colitis

Your doctor may suggest several types of medicines to curb inflammation in your bowel, including sulfa drugs, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents, and antibiotics.

Learn more about medications that help treat mild ulcerative colitis.

Diet Changes for Ulcerative Colitis

While food doesn't appear to play a role in causing ulcerative colitis, certain foods may cause more symptoms when your disease is active. Your doctor may suggest diet changes, depending on your symptoms. They may also recommend vitamins or nutritional supplements. Find out how to create a diet plan for ulcerative colitis.

Surgery for Ulcerative Colitis

Some people get surgery to remove part or all of the colon. Your doctor may suggest this if your medicine isn't working, your symptoms get worse, or your ulcerative colitis leads to serious complications.

When you have an operation to remove your entire colon, the surgeon most often creates an opening, or stoma, in your belly wall. They attach a bag there and bring the tip of your lower small intestine through the opening. Waste passes through it and collects in a pouch, which gets attached to the stoma. You'd need to wear the pouch all the time.

A newer surgery, called a pelvic pouch or ileal pouch anal anastomosis (IPAA), doesn't create a permanent opening. Instead, a surgeon removes your colon and rectum, and your small intestine is used to form an internal pouch or reservoir that serves as a new rectum. This pouch is connected to the anus.


A procedure called a continent ileostomy (Kock pouch) is done if you want your external pouch converted to an internal one, or if you can't get the IPAA operation.

In this procedure, there is a stoma but no bag. Your surgeon removes your colon and rectum and creates an internal reservoir from your small intestine. They make an opening in your belly wall and join the reservoir to your skin with a nipple valve. To drain the pouch, you insert a catheter through the valve into the internal reservoir.

Other techniques are also available. All surgeries carry some risk and complications. If you have been told you need surgery to treat ulcerative colitis, you may want to get a second opinion to make sure you get the best option for you. Get information about the different types of surgery for ulcerative colitis.

When Should I Call My Doctor About Ulcerative Colitis?

Call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Heavy, persistent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding with clots of blood in your stool
  • Constant pain and a high fever

Know what makes ulcerative colitis worse and what to do about it.


WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on September 04, 2020



National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse.

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America: "What are Crohn's & Colitis?" "Surgery for Crohn's Disease & Ulcerative Colitis."

FDA: "FDA approves Inflectra, a biosimilar to Remicade." “FDA approves Amjevita, a biosimilar to Humira.”

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