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Ulcerative Colitis

​Ulcerative Colitis is a condition that causes diarrhoea, belly pain and bloody bowel movements. It happens, as the large intestine becomes inflamed and gets sores called “ulcers”.


There are general symptoms, specific bowel symptoms and symptoms at distant sites other than the large intestine.

  • General symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite and sometimes fever.

  • Specific symptoms related to the large intestine, which includes, diarrhoea, bloody bowel movements, mucous coming out of the anus, belly cramps, weight loss.

  • Other body parts can also be affected other than the large intestine. These include, red and painful eyes, skin rash, frequent sores in mouth, and tender joints.

How common is Ulcerative Colitis?

In our local Singapore population, Ulcerative Colitis is uncommon and occurs in 6 out of 100,000 individuals.


The treatment will depend on the severity and type of the disease. Medical treatment options include 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) drugs, antibiotics, corticosteroids, immunosuppressive agents and immunomodulators such as infliximab.

In patient with severe Ulcerative Colitis, especially not responding to medical therapy, surgery may be needed.

A long-term important complication of Ulcerative Colitis is the development of colon cancer. This risk is higher in patients where the entire colon is diseased and in patients who have suffered Ulcerative Colitis for longer period of time. For early detection of colon cancer, you may be recommended to undergo screening colonoscopy.

Do I need special diet?
In general, patients with Ulcerative Colitis do not require a special diet. A balanced diet providing the necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals should be the goal.

What if I want to get pregnant?
In most cases, Ulcerative Colitis does not affect a person’s ability to get pregnant. If you want to have a baby, talk to your doctor or nurse before you start trying to get pregnant. They can make sure you get all the tests you need before and during your pregnancy. It is important for ulcerative colitis to be properly treated during pregnancy. 

Contributed​ by Gastroenterology & Hepatology