Do I have Ulcerative Colitis? Maybe it’s just IBS. How do I know the difference? I poop when I’m anxious, does that mean I have a disease? Is it normal to use the bathroom 10 times a day? How much blood should I see before I worry? My poop is funny, but I’m not laughing.
If these are things you’ve said to yourself then keep reading.
What are the symptoms of UC?
The symptoms vary depending on the severity of the flare up and what type of IBD it is. Generally a person who is affected may experience a slow onset of symptoms while others react with a full blown flare up. And by “full blown” I mean they are literally blowing up. Sexy, I know.
One variation of Ulcerative Colitis is pancolitis which affects the entire rectum and colon. Additionally, there is proctitis which affects only the rectum. Either way, the symptoms of UC are alarming. Drum roll please….
- Pain, pressure, and discomfort in your rectum or colon while using the bathroom.
- Pain, pressure, and discomfort in your rectum or colon when not using the bathroom.
- Feeling a strong urge to poop but you never do.
- Feeling a strong urge to poop and you run (read: waddle) to the bathroom or else you shit your pants.
- Persistent diarrhea
- Urgent bowel movements
- Bloody stool
- Cramps, bloating, gas
- Abdominal pain due to bloating and inflammation
- Passing blood with little or no stool
- Sharting (yup, I said it)
- Fatigue, anemia, dehydration
- Weight loss – of course this is indirect since the weight loss is from not being able to eat without pooping.
What’s the difference in symptoms between UC, Crohn’s, and other digestive problems?
When you search for digestive ailment symptoms online you will most likely get results anywhere from celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and colon cancer. How do you distinguish between them? The answer is basically to see a gastroenterologist first. Do not try to figure it out yourself. WebMD will only tell you that you’re dying a terrible death with a disease that less than 1% of the population has or something equally terrifying.
The main difference between having an IBD and other digestive ailments is blood. Cramping, bloating, loose stool, and other similar things can literally be from ANYTHING. But if you see blood in your stool chances are that denotes a much more alarming problem.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is very different from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBS is a syndrome which is a muscle function disorder. IBD is a disease that affects the lining and inflammation of the colon. This is a very clear explanation of the difference between IBS and IBD. Read here.
So, now what?
Now that you know the symptoms of UC you’re either thinking “Holy cow, I’m so glad that I don’t have that” or “I should probably call a doctor”. Don’t hesitate. The longer you wait during a flare the worse your colon will get and the more likely you become a candidate for surgery. The doctors will most likely send you for tests where you collect your poop and send it to labs. And the doctor should most likely send you for a colonoscopy. Just do it.
Form a relationship with your doctor and make sure you ask a lot of questions. If you end up being diagnosed with IBD then make sure you settle on a doctor you are comfortable with. After all, this is for life. But it doesn’t have to be torturous the whole time.
- Why You Should Limit Nightshades
- Persian Stuffed Grape Leaves