Understanding Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis (PUC)
Your child looks to you for comfort and guidance
When it comes to ulcerative colitis, you may not know what to do. PUC symptoms are unpredictable and may keep your child from participating in activities he or she enjoys.
You’ve both learned to cope with the unexpected flare-ups. You’d give just about anything to help relieve your child’s symptoms and help him or her do more of the things kids like to do. You wonder what the future holds.
If your child is still experiencing unpredictable flare-ups and other PUC symptoms, talk to your child’s doctor. Help may be within reach. 
What is PUC?
PUC is a condition that occurs in children younger than 17 years of age and causes inflammation in the colon or large intestine. It is among the most common gastrointestinal conditions managed by gastroenterologists in the United States.
Symptoms of PUC include blood in the stool or bloody diarrhea, frequent bowel movements, rectal bleeding, stomach pain, cramping, joint pain, fatigue, and weight loss.
What causes PUC?
The direct cause of PUC is unknown. But we do know that children may be more likely to experience it if ulcerative colitis is part of their family’s medical history.
PUC symptoms begin when the immune system attacks healthy cells in a child’s body, for reasons we do not yet understand. Normally, the immune system (the body’s natural defense system) protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and other foreign agents. When children have PUC, their immune system incorrectly targets their gastrointestinal tract.  This causes inflammation, leading to the symptoms and flares usually experienced with PUC.
Who gets PUC?
PUC is usually seen in adolescents, but younger children also have been seen with the disease.
Are the symptoms of PUC interfering with your child’s life?
Symptoms of PUC can be mild, moderate, or severe and may develop over time or very suddenly.
Symptoms typically include:
- Stomach pain
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
These symptoms can interrupt your child’s daily routine. If your son or daughter is taking medication and is still experiencing symptoms, his or her symptoms aren’t really under control. While you and your child may have learned to live with your current treatment, you may not have to anymore—there are more options available.