Ulcerative Colitis | Diagnosis & Treatment | MedStar Health

Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is an inflammation of the inner lining of the rectum and large intestine. It can cause one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Sometimes there is a joint, skin, or liver disease associated

Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis 

  • Blood tests

  • Upper endoscopy to examine the esophagus, stomach, and upper gastrointestinal tract

  • Upper GI series, also known as a barium swallow that uses X-rays to show outlines of different parts of the bowel

  • Colonoscopy to examine the anus, rectum, and colon

Ulcerative colitis treatment

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are typically managed through medications. Surgery is reserved for patients with disabling symptoms, which are not controlled by medications or those with an increased cancer risk. When surgery is necessary, the entire colon and rectum are removed.

Our providers

Portrait of Dr. Jeffrey Ferris washing his hands at a scrub sink outside of an operating room at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

Expert gastroenterology care

Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our gastroenterologists.