Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis, also called colitis or proctitis, is an inflammatory bowel disease of the large intestines. Although inflammation usually occurs in the rectum and lower part of the colon, it may affect the entire colon. Unlike Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon.

It is estimated that as many as one million Americans are affected with colitis or Crohn's disease. Most cases of colitis are diagnosed before the age of 30, although it can affect anyone, including children and older people between the ages of 50 and 70. There is a greater incidence of the disease among Caucasians and Jews than in other populations.

The condition can be inherited and is common in some families. About 20 percent to 25 percent of those with ulcerative colitis have a close relative with the condition or Crohn's disease. The immune system's response to certain environmental antigens and the patient's own genetic makeup, are believed to be the primary factors causing disease.

Our Approach to Ulcerative Colitis

UCSF provides comprehensive evaluations and advanced care for all types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis. Our team is made up of many kinds of specialists – such as gastroenterologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, immunologists, nutritionists and psychologists – who work together to devise treatment plans for each patient. Our goal is to improve patients' quality of life, and we encourage their input on treatment decisions.

In addition to caring for patients, our providers are conducting research to find new therapies for IBD and, ultimately, a cure. Interested patients may have the option to receive investigational treatments by participating in clinical trials.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Best hospital in Northern California

  • Best in Northern California in gastroenterology & GI surgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.