Early recognition — and prompt treatment — are key to avoiding the worst complications of UC, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, so it’s important to know up front what the possibilities are. Two of the more serious — but rare — complications include toxic megacolon, a life-threatening condition that requires immediate attention, and a rupture of your bowel.
One of the other main concerns? “People with ulcerative colitis have an increased risk of colorectal cancer,” Dr. Lin says.
That cancer risk increases starting around the eight-year mark with UC (that’s why colonoscopy frequency starts to increase around this time, too). Your risk also hinges on the severity of your colon inflammation, your family history of colorectal cancer, and whether you have signs of cell changes in the colon or rectum, per the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.