Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in which the lining of the large intestine (colon or bowel) and the rectum become inflamed. This inflammation produces tiny sores or ulcers on the lining of the colon. It usually begins in the rectum and spreads upward. It rarely affects the small intestine beyond the lower portion.

Discover the terms people use to describe Ulcerative Colitis. Hover over the words below to get a full description of what each one means.

Autoimmune disease

Disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own healthy blood cells and tissues.


Probiotic found in some dairy products. May be helpful in easing IBS symptoms.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (esr, or sed rate)

Test that indirectly measures the degree of inflammation present in the body


Abnormal connection or tunnel between an organ, vessel, or intestine and another structure often resulting in pain, discomfort and infection.


A procedure that removes a sample of tissue. Used to find out more about a disease or condition.


Group of medicines used to treat inflammation of the gut, or inflammatory bowel disease. Also commonly used to treat and prevent UC flare-ups.

Back Gas

Slang term to describe gas that backs up in a stoma pouch, causing it to expand.

Bacterial recolonization

A second or renewed colonization of bacteria sometimes used to manage the symptoms of colitis.

Barium Enema

X-ray exam that can detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine.


IBS can cause pressure as gas builds up in the intestines, expanding the waistline.

Clench Up

Term for squeezing your rectum together to avoid "leakage."Anyone with IBS, IBD, or UC knows that when you HAVE to go, there is often nowhere to go.

Crohn's disease

Serious condition affecting the digestive system. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, bloody stools, and ulcers


Someone who suffers from Crohn's disease.


Partial or total removal of the large bowel through surgery.


The last major portion of the intestine.


Exam used to detect changes or abnormalities in the large intestine and rectum. A tiny video camera attached to a long flexile tube allows the doctor to view the inside of the entire colon.

Computed tomography (CT) scan

Combines a series of X-ray views taken from different angles and computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the bones and soft tissues inside your body.


Term for difficulty or trouble in emptying the bowels. It's often a result of hardened feces.

"Cough and Turn"

Also called the "digital rectal exam," it's usually associated with a prostate exam for men. It can also be used when examining the rectum to feel for signs of hemorrhoids, polyps, or tumors.

Distal colitis

Applies to those forms of UC involving the colon up to the mid portion of the descending colon, otherwise known as the "left colon."


Common disease of the digestive system that usually occurs in the colon.


Term for an "outpouching" of a hollow or a fluid-filled structure in the body.


Looking inside the body for medical reasons using an endoscope, an instrument used to examine the interior of a hollow organ or cavity of the body.

Flare or Flare-up

Sudden appearance or worsening of a condition or disease's symptoms.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Procedure that allows your doctor to examine the rectum and the lower colon.

Gastrointestinal (GI) tract

Large organ system, going from the mouth to the anus, that's responsible for consumption, digestion, absorption of nutrients, and expulsion of waste.


Swollen, painful, itchy, bleeding varicose veins in the blood vessels around the anus and lower rectum.

"Wet Fart"

Slang term for passing gas along with solid waste. See also "Shart."


Open sores.

Ulcerative Proctitis

Form of UC in which bowel inflammation is limited to the rectum.


Formation or development of an ulcer.

Toxic megacolon

is a life-threatening complication an intestinal condition. It causes widening (dilation) of the large intestine within 1 to a few days.

Total proctocolectomy

Removal of the entirety of the large bowel and rectum.


Used to describe the constant feeling of needing to empty the bowel, accompanied by involuntary straining efforts, pain, and cramping with little or no fecal output. Often confused for constipation.

Stool analysis

Series of tests done on a stool (feces) sample to help diagnose certain conditions affecting the digestive tract.

Immune system

The body's defense against infectious organisms and other invaders.

Stoma bag

Slang term for "colostomy bag."


Swollen, reddened, or painful tissue in the rectal area or colon.

Spastic colon

Term used by medical professionals for IBS.

Sigmoid colon

An S-shaped curve of the large intestine between the descending colon and the rectum.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Group of diseases affecting the GI tract, including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.


Slang term for passing gas along with solid waste. See also "wet fart."


Portion of the GI tract that carries food and waste from the stomach to the rectum.


Absence of disease activity within a patient.


Stands for "magnetic resonance imaging." A diagnostic technique that uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce a detailed image of the body's soft tissue and bones.


Lower section of the large intestine.

Pan-ulcerative (total) Colitis

Type of UC that affects the entire colon. Potentially serious complications include massive bleeding and acute dilation of the colon, which may lead to an opening in the bowel wall.

Rectal urgency

The sudden and urgent need to pass a bowl movement.


Abnormal growth in the intestinal lining. Your doctor might remove polyps after a colonoscopy.


Inflammation of the anus and lining of the rectum.


Live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health. Normally found in the body, but also found in some foods and supplements.

autoimmune disease bifidobacterium erythrocyte sedimentation rate (esr, or sed rate) fistulae biopsy toxic megacolon remission mri flare or flare-up "cough and turn" colonoscopy gastrointestinal (gi) tract immune system hemorrhoids barium enema computed tomography (ct) scan polyp "back gas" proctitis flexible sigmoidoscopy rectal urgency sigmoid colon total proctocolectomy ulcers spastic colon intestine diverticulitis bloating pan-ulcerative (total) colitis stoma bag inflammatory bowel disease stool analysis crohn's disease inflamed rectum crohnie diverticulum probiotics "wet fart" bacterial recolonization "clench up" distal colitis ulceration colectomy constipation tenesmus ulcerative proctitis aminosalicylates colon shart endoscopy