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Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis

The goals of treatment are to:

Hospitalization is often required for severe attacks. Your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. You may be given nutrients through an intravenous (IV) line (through a vein).

DIET AND NUTRITION for Ulcerative Colitis

Certain types of foods may worsen diarrhea and gas symptoms, especially during times of active disease. Diet suggestions:

MEDICATIONS for Ulcerative Colitis

Medications that may be used to decrease the number of attacks include:

SURGERY for Ulcerative Colitis

Surgery to remove the colon will cure ulcerative colitis and removes the threat of colon cancer. Surgery is usually for patients who have:

Most of the time, the entire colon, including the rectum, is removed. Afterwards, patients may need an ileostomy (a surgical opening in the abdominal wall), or a procedure that connects the small intestine to the anus to help the patient gain more normal bowel function.

See also:

Support Groups for Ulcerative Colitis

Social support can often help with the stress of dealing with illness, and support group members may also have useful tips for finding the best treatment and coping with the condition.

For more information, visit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) web site at

Outlook / Prognosis for Ulcerative Colitis

About half of patients with ulcerative colitis have mild symptoms. Patients with more severe ulcerative colitis tend to respond less well to medications.

Permanent and complete control of symptoms with medications is unusual. Cure is only possible through complete removal of the large intestine.

The risk of colon cancer increases in each decade after ulcerative colitis is diagnosed.

Possible Complications of Ulcerative Colitis

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you develop persistent abdominal pain, new or increased bleeding, persistent fever, or other symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

Call your health care provider if you have ulcerative colitis and your symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment, or if new symptoms develop.

Prevention of Ulcerative Colitis

Because the cause is unknown, prevention is also unknown.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may make symptoms worse.

Due to the risk of colon cancer associated with ulcerative colitis, screening with colonoscopy is recommended.

The American Cancer Society recommends having your first screening:

Have follow-up examinations every 1 - 2 years.