8 Common Ulcerative Symptoms (continued)
Weight loss. People with ulcerative colitis often experience loss of appetite and have trouble absorbing nutrients from the foods they eat — and that means they may lose weight, the CCFA explains. This can lead to fatigue and low energy as well. Some weight loss with ulcerative colitis can be expected, but you should still address any weight loss with your doctor to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need.
Inflammation elsewhere in the body. As an autoimmune disease, ulcerative colitis can cause inflammation beyond the intestines. “These extra-intestinal manifestations, as we call them, can include painful welts typically on the shins, inflamed joints, or aphthous ulcers — painful little white sores on the inside of your cheeks or on your tongue,” Swaminath says. If you have these symptoms, even without bowel issues, let your doctor know, he adds.
Periods of time without symptoms. Ulcerative colitis symptoms tend to come and go, with periods of flares followed by remission. When you're in remission, it’s perfectly normal to be symptom-free for months or even years, according to the CCFA. To try to stay in remission and avoid an ulcerative colitis flare, keep taking your medication as prescribed.
The best strategy for understanding your ulcerative colitis symptoms is to have an open, honest conversation with your doctor. “Bloody diarrhea, urgency, weight loss, and fatigue associated with ulcerative colitis can take a real toll on your quality of life,” Swaminath says. To get the most targeted, appropriate treatment for you, be as honest and as clear as possible in your communications with your health care team.