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An overview of ulcerative colitis

The incidence of ulcerative colitis is rising rapidly, so awareness of symptoms and when to refer will come in useful, says Louanne McCabe.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the colon of unknown cause, characterised by episodes of active and inactive phases. UC and Crohn's disease are the two major forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Both conditions follow a fairly unpredictable relapsing and remitting course, with some similarities and some degrees of overlap in their behaviour. However, they can also have some wide-ranging differences in the complexity of their symptoms and management can be challenging.

The two conditions are lifelong. However, this does not have to mean patients enduring a lifetime of unpleasant or severe symptoms. The collaborative aim is disease remission and knowledge of strategies to apply to achieve this.

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