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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

Symptoms

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary. Some people with the disease have a burst of symptoms every few months. Others have symptoms either all the time. Some, fortunately, have symptoms only rarely.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Cramping abdominal pain, especially in the lower abdomen

  • Bloody diarrhea, often containing pus or mucus

  • Little warning before you need to have a bowel movement

  • The need to wake from sleep to have bowel movements

Ulcerative colitis also may cause:

  • Fever

  • Fatigue

  • Decreased appetite

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of fluids that can lead to dehydration

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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