Ulcerative ColitisUC Symptoms

Let's Talk About the Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

And if we're talking UC, that means talking about poop, people. But ulcerative colitis isn't only a GI problem. It's a chronic disease that can manifest in all sorts of ways. These are UC symptoms to watch for.

    Our Pro PanelUC Signs & Symptoms

    We went to some of the nation's top UC experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Aline J Charabaty Pishvaian

    Aline Charabaty Pishvaian, M.D.Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center

    Sibley Memorial Hospital
    Washington, D.C.
    Jason Schairer MD

    Jason Schairer, M.D.Senior Staff Gastroenterologist

    Henry Ford Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center
    Megan Elizabeth Riehl. PsyD.

    Megan Elizabeth Riehl, Psy.D.Clinical Health Psychologist

    University of Michigan
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
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    Frequently Asked QuestionsUC Signs & Symptoms

    What are the most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis?

    While everyone’s UC symptoms will vary, the most common include blood in your stool and frequent diarrhea (like four or more times a day). Many people also experience abdominal pain.

    How can UC affect the rest of my body?

    UC is an autoimmune condition that causes systemic inflammation. So while the symptoms may be mostly GI-focused, the effects can ripple from head to toe. You might experience fatigue, flu-like symptoms, achy joints, and problems with your skin and eyes.

    How do ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease symptoms differ?

    UC and Crohn’s have many similar symptoms, so it’s not really possible to tell them apart from those alone. Diagnosis involves tests to look inside the GI tract to see what's going on. UC generally affects only the colon and/rectum while Crohn's can impact any part of the GI system.

    Are there different types of ulcerative colitis?

    Your doctor may diagnose you with a specific type of UC based on what part of the rectum and colon are affected. These can include ulcerative proctitis, left-sided colitis, and extensive colitis. Each of these subtypes can have slightly different symptoms.

    Lara DeSanto

    Lara DeSanto


    Lara DeSanto is a former editor of HealthCentral, where she regularly covered digestive health, sexual health, and cancer. She's now a frequent contributor to the site.