DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
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|Colon and rectum|
Ulcerative colitis (UL-sur-uh-tiv koe-LIE-tis) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes long-lasting inflammation in part of your digestive tract.
Like Crohn's disease, another common IBD, ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and sometimes can lead to life-threatening complications. Because ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition, symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.
Ulcerative colitis usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. It occurs only through continuous stretches of your colon, unlike Crohn's disease, which occurs anywhere in the digestive tract and often spreads deeply into the affected tissues.
There's no known cure for ulcerative colitis, but therapies are available that may dramatically reduce the signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis and even bring about a long-term remission.
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