1. Symptom in digestive system: The clinical presentation of ulcerative colitis depends on the extent of the disease process. Patients usually present with diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus, of gradual onset that persists for an extended period (weeks). They may also have weight loss and blood on rectal examination. The inflammation caused by the disease along with the chronic bleeding from the GI tract leads to increased rates of anemia. The disease may be accompanied by different degrees of abdominal pain, from mild discomfort to painful bowel movements or painful abdominal cramping with bowel movements.
Ulcerative colitis is associated with a general inflammatory process that can affect many parts of the body. Sometimes, these associated extra-intestinal symptoms are the initial signs of the disease, such as painful arthritic knees in teenagers, which also may be seen in adults. A diagnosis of UC may not occur until the onset of intestinal manifestations.
2. Extent of involvement: Ulcerative colitis is normally continuous from the rectum up the colon. The disease is classified by the extent of involvement, depending on how far the disease extends:
Distal colitis, potentially treatable with enemas:
Proctitis: Involvement limited to the rectum
Proctosigmoiditis: Involvement of the rectosigmoid colon, the portion of the colon adjacent to the rectum.
Left-sided colitis: Involvement of the descending colon, which runs along the patient's left side, up to the splenic flexure and the beginning of the transverse colon
Extensive colitis: Inflammation extending beyond the reach of enemas:
Pancolitis: Involvement of the entire colon.