Surprising Skin Conditions Associated With Ulcerative Colitis Disease

Ulcerative Colitis Disease can affect more than just your gastrointestinal tract — it can actually affect your skin, too.

Ulcerative Colitis Disease affects more than just your gastrointestinal tract. The same inflammation that triggers disease in your intestines can manifest all over the body — including your skin.Up to 15 percent of people with inflammatory bowel disease also experience skin problems, according to a review published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases in August 2015. Your first line of defense against these skin problems is to get your Ulcerative Colitis Disease under control, says Matilda Hagan, MD, an inflammatory bowel disease specialist at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.If you do notice any skin changes, it’s important to tell your doctor right away so you can be seen by a dermatologist, says Kally Papantoniou, MD, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Ulcerative Colitis Disease and Your Skin

Skin conditions that you may be susceptible to along with Ulcerative Colitis Disease include:

1. Erythema nodosum. This rash consists of painful, raised bumps that are usually found on the legs, Dr. Hagan says. It tends to develop when Ulcerative Colitis Disease is active, she adds. You may also run a fever, have joint pain, and generally feel ill, according to the National Library of Medicine.Treatment options include pain-relieving medications, steroids (taken either by mouth or injection), and potassium iodide solution to clear up the bumps.“A cool compress can also help alleviate discomfort and reduce inflammation,” Dr. Papantoniou says, adding that elevating your legs may help lessen swelling and tenderness. Compression stockings may help as well, but have your doctor evaluate you for vascular disease before using them, she cautions.Symptoms usually go away within about six weeks, but they may come back.

2. Pyoderma gangrenosum. This rash, which spreads quickly, is made up of red or purple bumps or blisters. They eventually join together and form deep open sores (ulcers) with a blue or purple border, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD).The ulcers can occur almost anywhere: “People can have them on their feet, making it difficult to walk,” Hagan says. “They can have them on their legs, or their stomachs.” Sometimes the rash develops around the site of an injury or surgical wound.Unlike erythema nodosum, this skin problem often appears when bowel disease is quiet, Hagan says. It also can be difficult to treat, she adds.“Pyoderma gangrenosum can leave terrible scars,” says Joaquin Brieva, MD, a dermatologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. The condition requires sophisticated wound care by an expert team plus treatment for the underlying colitis.Treatments include medicines that target the skin or whole-body therapies, such as anti-inflammatory creams and steroid ointments; steroids pills or injections, which are sometimes injected directly into the ulcers; and medications that suppress the immune system.

3. Aphthous stomatitis. Also known as canker cores, these are white spots with a red base that are found in the lining of the mouth or on the tongue, Hagan says. Some people get them right before a flare, she adds.In people with Ulcerative Colitis Disease, canker sores are often larger than a centimeter and hang around longer than 2 weeks, Dr. Brieva says.Treatment includes tetracycline mouthwashes, steroid medications that are made to stick to the mouth and gums, and lidocaine, among other things, he adds.According to the National Library of Medicine, you can also try to:

Suck on something cold, like an ice pop.

Swish milk of magnesia around your mouth to coat the sore, and then spit it out.

Mix a half-cup of salt into a cup of water and rinse your mouth with an ounce of the mixture four times a day.

4. Pyoderma vegetans. This is a rare condition that appears as blisters, plaques, or patches around the groin and under the arms, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). Pyostomatitis vegetans is the same condition, but it occurs in the mouth, Brieva says. Treatment for this skin condition typically just involves treating the Ulcerative Colitis Disease itself.

5. Sweet’s syndrome. This is another rare skin complication linked to Ulcerative Colitis Disease , according to NORD. It comes with a fever and a rash made up of many tender red or bluish-red bumps or spots. They usually develop on the arms, legs, torso, face, or neck. Arthritis and eye inflammation are sometimes symptoms, too. Sweet’s syndrome is usually treated with steroids.

6. Clubbing. In this condition, the skin underneath your fingernails thickens and the fingertips become rounded and fat, like the tip of a drumstick, Brieva says. Your nails also curve over your fingertips. There’s no treatment for clubbing, according to the CCFA.


To the Person Just Diagnosed With Ulcerative Colitis

So, you were just diagnosed with ulcerative colitis? Hey, I know what you’re feeling. I’ve been where you are right now. You might be young, maybe in your teens. You might be older, with children and grandchildren. Maybe it’s your child who’s been diagnosed with UC. Regardless of where you’re at we’ve all been there, all of us with UC, and it’s OK to be scared, shocked, indifferent or whatever you’re feeling right now. It’s all valid.

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I would like to tell you a bit about my story from where I started my UC journey to where I am today because I want to share with you how it’s possible to have an amazing life with this chronic illness.

I was diagnosed when in December of 2008 when I was 15 years old. When I got diagnosed I felt, well, nothing, really. I felt kind of indifferent. I had gone to my school nurse with pain in my lower left side and I got an emergency appointment with the doctor since they suspected it might be the appendix. When that was quickly ruled out, the doctor kept asking me questions.

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10 Great Things About Having Ulcerative Colitis

drawing of a woman with long waving blonde hair

Let me start by saying this: I know how much this disease can suck. I’ve felt so much of it myself, and I have dozens of friends who deal with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) on a daily basis – often symptoms that are way worse than my own. And I know it does take time for a patient, especially a newly diagnosed one, to get to a place of peace with their body. I was diagnosed 16 years ago and still have days where I hate my insides and what they’ve put me through.

Still, I believe there are some benefits, some good things – even some blessings – that come with having ulcerative colitis. Once you’ve worked through the darkest days, you can slowly open your heart to the great things that happen even though you have a gut gremlin. For example…

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10 Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a condition that mainly affects the colon, causing inflammation as well as ulcers. It also affects the rectum, and symptoms can be far-ranging, affecting many parts of the body. The main symptoms include bloody stool, pain, and inflammation. Ulcerative colitis may cause flare-ups, during which symptoms can be especially difficult to manage. Different treatment options are ranging from dietary modifications to medication. Find out ten symptoms of ulcerative colitis.

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10 Treatments of Ulcerative Colitis

It is not uncommon to hear cases of people who suffer from constant pain and discomfort in the stomach. But when other more worrying symptoms appear, such as bloody diarrhea, the cause may have to do with ulcerative colitis. This is a condition that causes inflammation in the bowels, especially in the colon as well as the rectum. Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune condition, meaning that the body attacks itself. There are changes you can make to your diet, among other things, that can help you treat ulcerative colitis. Find out ten treatments of ulcerative colitis.

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10 Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

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Ulcerative colitis is a condition that causes inflammation and cramping in the abdominal region, and it occurs mostly after ingesting certain foods. Together with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis is known as a “pooping disease” because it often results in unexpected trips to the bathroom. It’s also a difficult research area for many scientists, as they haven’t quite been able to determine exactly what causes it to develop, although many factors have been identified. Find out ten causes of ulcerative colitis.

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Ulcerative colitis

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is a superficial inflammation of the large intestine, not caused by bacteria, which results in ulceration and bleeding.

The patient typically experiences alternating periods with no or few symptoms, and periods with frequent stomach pains and diarrhoea that is mixed with pus, blood, and mucus.

It’s rare in the UK, with one new case per 10,000 people per year. Currently, there are approximately 146,000 patients with ulcerative colitis and usually they are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 25-years-old, with a smaller peak between 55 and 65 years old.

People of Asian origin are less likely to be affected, and men and women are equally affected.

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The Top 10 Signs & Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis

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Ulcerative colitis affects an estimated 600,000 Americans.  Similar to Crohn’s Disease, this life-long condition ulcerates the tissues along the large intestine (or colon) and the rectum, causing the red and painful inflammation of the inner walls.

Although ulcerative colitis isn’t typically a fatal disease, the following symptoms closely associated with it can cause life-threatening complications…

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