Health A-Z

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When to Call A Doctor

New or changing symptoms often mean that additional treatment is needed. People who have ulcerative colitis should be in frequent contact with their physicians.

Common symptoms that require a doctor's immediate attention are:

  • Fever, which could indicate infection or a ruptured intestine

  • Heavy bleeding from the rectum

A serious, but uncommon, complication is called toxic megacolon. This results when the colon inflammation is so severe that it stops the colon's motion. Megacolon causes the abdomen to swell. This can cause vomiting or severe abdominal pain and bloating. Megacolon requires emergency treatment, often surgery.

Page 7 of 9     Next Page:  Ulcerative Colitis Prognosis
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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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