Ulcerative Colitis at 10x Magnification
The possible complications and severity of symptoms experienced by patients with ulcerative colitis are heavily dependent on the scope and magnitude of the inflammation present in the colon. A number of subcategories of the condition are commonly used to more specifically describe various manifestations of the disease. The mildest form of ulcerative colitis is typically ulcerative proctitis, which is localized to the rectum and often precedes the development of more extensive inflammation. In instances of proctosigmoiditis, the inflamed regions of the bowels include both the rectum and the lower segment of the colon known as the sigmoid colon, and in left-sided colitis, involvement extends to a bend in the colon called the splenic flexure. The most serious form of colitis is the pan-ulcerative variety, which affects the entire colon. Serious complications from pan-ulcerative colitis, such as extreme inflammation of the colon that can cause rupture (termed toxic megacolon) and substantial hemorrhaging, are known to occur.