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 bug, 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, 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, even if it isn’t visible to the naked eye. 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 an acid imbalance in the body that promotes the formation of small mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores. You’re most likely to get them between the gums and lower lip or along the sides or base of the tongue, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, and they usually subside along with the flare-up. 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 vitamins B12, folic acid, zinc, or iron may make you more susceptible.