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UW Health SMPH
American Family Children's Hospital

Ulcerative Colitis

UW Health Colon and Rectal Surgery specialists in Madison, Wisconsin provide comprehensive evaluation and surgical management of ulcerative colitis.


Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is an inflammatory disorder affecting the colon and rectum. 


This condition is most often found in patients between the age of 15 and 30; however it is possible for an individual to have late onset of symptoms well into their 50's and 60's. 


Some patients diagnosed with ulcerative colitis may have a family history of the disease.


Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis


Symptoms most commonly consist of frequent bowel movements with bloody diarrhea often mixed with mucus. Patients may also experience cramping abdominal pain, malaise, fever, anemia and even weight loss.


Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis


Ulcerative Colitis can be confirmed via symptom patterns, and especially endoscopic (flexible sigmoidscopy or colonoscopy) studies. 


Ulcerative Colitis Treatment


Ulcerative colitis is a condition that can often be managed medically. However, approximately 20 percent of patients are unable to control their disease through medical management. In these cases, or in cases where patients are experiencing additional disease associated complications, surgical intervention becomes warranted. 


Here at the University of Wisconsin, the colon and rectal surgery group has extensive experience with the surgical treatment of ulcerative colitis and have a long record of success in this patient population.


The surgical management can be accomplished both via an open or more commonly a laparoscopic approach. This includes complete removal of the colon and rectum with construction of internal ileal pouch or reservoir made from the small intestine. This avoids a permanent ileostomy bag and optimizes bowel function. These techniques and outcomes are discussed at length between the patient and surgeon. 


Patient Story: A Young Woman's Struggle with Ulcerative Colitis


At age 17, Katie Hopwood was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a painful and debilitating chronic inflammation of the colon that often leaves its sufferers doubled over in pain and rushing to the bathroom several times an hour.


For Hopwood, a three-sport athlete with a bright future and an active lifestyle, the disease quickly became a nightmare until a procedure at UW Hospital changed her life.


Video; View Katie Hopwood's Story Watch Katie's Story