Ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease, can become more severe over time. The severity may depend on the level of inflammation in the intestines and throughout your body.

UC causes inflammation and sores in the rectum, colon, or both. This can lead to symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. The condition may involve more frequent and severe flare-ups of gastrointestinal symptoms as it progresses. It may also cause inflammation in other parts of the body.

You should let your doctor or gastroenterologist know if you develop new symptoms or if your symptoms worsen or do not improve with treatment. Your doctor may also order blood or colonoscopy tests or others to monitor inflammation and check for changes in your condition.

Your doctor may recommend changes to your treatment plan if:

  • your current treatment is not effectively limiting inflammation and symptoms
  • your condition progresses
  • you develop complications

Learn more in this progression guide to understand how UC may affect you over time.