Ulcerative Colitis affects the Large Intestine (Colon)
The colon is part of the digestive tract. When food is ingested it goes through the mouth, down the esophagus, to the stomach, then to the small intestine, which empties into the large intestine. The large intestine, averaging three feet in length, absorbs nutrients and water from food as it pushes it along toward the rectum. Once the food, now a waste product, reaches the rectum it is eliminated in the form of a bowel movement.
How Ulcerative Colitis affects the Colon
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes inflammation and sores, called ulcers, in the top layers of the lining of the colon. The inflammation usually occurs in the rectum and lower part of the colon, but it may affect the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the lower section, called the ileum. Ulcerative colitis may also be called colitis, ileitis, or proctitis. The inflammation makes the colon empty frequently, causing diarrhea. Ulcers form in places where the inflammation has killed colon lining cells; the ulcers bleed and produce pus and mucus. It is not quite understood what causes Ulcerative Colitis. There is one theory that suggests that the body's immune system reacts to a bacteria or virus, which causes continuous inflammation in the colon.
Ulcerative Colitis causes fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, blood in stools, and loss of bodily nutrients and fluids. About half of the people with Ulcerative Colitis only experience these mild symptoms; the other half will also suffer from abdominal pain, fever, nausea, severe bloody diarrhea, and an urgent need to use the bathroom. Some people also encounter problems with arthritis, eye inflammation, liver disease, osteoporosis, skin rashes, anemia, a...