Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a type of chronic, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that occurs in the colon with symptoms developing slowly over time. It stems from an inflammation of the colon lining where small, open sores form and produce mucous and pus. This irritation of the lining of the large intestine, or colon, eventually results in persistent abdominal discomfort and diarrhea and sometimes can cause life-threatening complications.

Ulcerative colitis is classified based on its location within the colon. The mildest form of the disease is called ulcerative proctitis and is found in the area of the colon closest to the rectum. Another form of the disease, proctosigmoiditis, occurs in the sigmoid colon, or the area around the rectum and lower end of the colon. If the inflammation expands from the rectum to the upper left stomach area, it is diagnosed as left-sided colitis. Pancolitis extends beyond the left side of the colon and can affect the entire colon, causing more severe and constant symptoms. The most rare and potentially life-threatening type of ulcerative colitis is fulminant colitis, which can lead to a rupture or rapid expansion of the colon. There is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, and treatments usually focus on suppressing symptoms and potentially inducing a long-term remission of the disease. 


UAB Medicine is known worldwide as a leading center for digestive and liver disorders. Our Gastroenterology and Gastrointestinal (GI) Surgery program is consistently recognized for excellence by U.S. News & World Report. We see more than 20,000 patients and perform more than 12,000 outpatient procedures annually.

Our Digestive Health Center combines gastroenterology care, GI surgery, and a wide range of advanced diagnostic and support services in a convenient location for our patients. The center is staffed by specialists in gastroenterology, radiology, and GI surgery, all of whom work together as a diverse team of digestive health experts. UAB gastroenterologists use the most up-to-date technology to diagnose and treat GERD accurately and thoughtfully. Our GI surgeons are experts in treating GERD using modern treatment options, and they perform over 100 laparoscopic or robotic operations for GERD each year.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials for Ulcerative Colitis. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials