Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic (or ongoing) disease of the colon or large intestine. UC is known as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)—a term used to describe a number of inflammatory diseases which affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. If you have an inflammatory disorder such as UC, your immune system attacks your own GI tissues .
People with UC can experience a number of signs and symptoms, including severe abdominal cramping and pain, fatigue, and the sudden, uncontrollable urge for bowel movements. But with appropriate medical treatment, many people with UC are able to achieve real symptom control .
While the direct cause of UC is unknown, here's what we do know: First, you may be more likely to experience UC if it's part of your family's medical history. Second, UC symptoms begin when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, for reasons we do not yet understand.
Normally, the immune system (the body's natural defense system), protects your body from bacteria, viruses and other foreign agents. When you have UC, your immune system incorrectly targets your GI tract . This causes inflammation—leading to the symptoms and flares usually experienced with UC.
Hear from these actual patients with moderately to severely active UC who didn't respond well to other therapies and were treated with REMICADE®. Individual results may vary.
The most common symptoms of UC include blood in the stool or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, and the sudden urge for bowel movements.
Other symptoms of UC include:
Some people with UC may also have tiny open sores (or ulcers) that form on the surface of the lining of the colon. These sores can bleed and produce pus and mucus. Because inflammation makes the colon empty frequently, other complications can arise, such as unwanted weight loss and blood loss.
Designed by experts at McMaster University, the SIBDQ does more than simply ask about your physical symptoms—it measures the impact of those symptoms on your social and emotional well-being.
Answering the SIBDQ can help you and your doctor determine how your symptoms affect your daily life. You should consider filling out the SIBDQ every 2 months or each time you visit your doctor so he or she can determine whether your current medication is controlling your symptoms, and, if necessary, recommend other treatment options.
Take the SIBDQ  to assess your symptoms.
Your doctor  will take several steps in order to accurately diagnose UC. These steps will also help rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as a bacterial or viral infection, and make sure you don't have another gastrointestinal problem like Crohn's disease (CD). To do this, your doctor will look at your medical history and perform a thorough physical exam as well as several tests.
The tests your doctor will perform may include:
Sometimes other conditions can cause abdominal symptoms that appear to be similar to those of UC. Crohn's Disease , for example, also causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Only your doctor can recommend a course of treatment after checking your health condition. REMICADE® (infliximab) can cause serious side effects such as lowering your ability to fight infections. Some patients, especially those 65 years and older, have had serious infections caused by viruses, fungi or bacteria that have spread throughout the body, including tuberculosis (TB) and histoplasmosis. Some of these infections have been fatal. Your doctor should monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with REMICADE®.
Unusual cancers have been reported in children and teenage patients taking TNF-blocker medicines. Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of fatal lymphoma, has occurred mostly in teenage or young adult males with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis who were taking REMICADE® and azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including REMICADE®, the chances of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase.
You should discuss any concerns about your health and medical care with your doctor.
What should I tell my doctor before I take REMICADE®?
You should let your doctor know if you have or ever had any of the following:
Also tell your doctor if you:
What should I watch for and talk to my doctor about before or while taking REMICADE®?
The following serious (sometimes fatal) side effects have been reported in people taking REMICADE®.
You should tell your doctor right away if you have any of the signs listed below:
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.