It’s normal to get diarrhea once in a while, after some very greasy BBQ, a bout of food poisoning, or certainly when you have a stomach flu, but the kind of diarrhea that happens with ulcerative colitis is chronic, at least during a flare-up. (Most people with ulcerative colitis have periods of remission that can last for weeks or years, so even “chronic” symptoms may be only temporary, for as long as the flare-up lasts). The urge to empty the colon may be brought on by eating certain foods that don’t agree with you, or from emotional distress. And because with ulcerative colitis, there’s irritation or swelling and sores (or ulcers) on the inner lining of the large intestine, the diarrhea stool may also contain blood or mucus from the irritated colon, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, bloody diarrhea is the hallmark of ulcerative colitis. Here’s how to tell if you might have Crohn’s disease.
With ulcerative colitis as with other autoimmune disorders, flare-ups can cause the formation of small mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. You’re most likely to get them between the gums and lower lip or along the sides or base of the tongue. To treat a canker sore, use a medicinal mouthwash or try these home remedies for canker sores; to help prevent canker sores, make sure to eat a balanced diet, as shortfalls in vitamin B12, folate, zinc, or iron may make you more susceptible, according to the Johns Hopkins experts.
Ulcerative colitis can cause abdominal pain as the body tries to send food through a large intestine, or colon, that’s swollen and lined with ulcers, reports the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCF). The pain has been described as “crampy,” like a charley horse in your gut. You may feel it before going number two or while you’re going. If you’re experiencing severe or chronic abdominal cramping with no obvious cause, talk to your doctor.