Ulcerative colitis physical examination

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Ulcerative colitis Microchapters


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Historical Perspective




Differentiating Ulcerative colitis from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination

Laboratory Findings

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Case #1

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Usama Talib, BSc, MD [2]


Ulcerative colitis shows intestinal and extra intestinal findings on physical examination. These include abdominal tenderness, fever, pallor, inflammation of the iris and uvea, skin rash, inflammation of the joints, aphthous ulcers and clubbing of the fingers.[1][2]

Physical Examination

As ulcerative colitis is a systemic disease, patients may present with symptoms and complications outside the colon. These include the following:[1][3][4][5][6]

General appearance

  • Normal appearance in mild disease
  • Pallor may be noticed

Vital signs



The ophthalmic physical exam findings may include:





  1. 1.0 1.1 Hanauer SB (1996). "Inflammatory bowel disease". N Engl J Med. 334 (13): 841–8. doi:10.1056/NEJM199603283341307. PMID 8596552.
  2. Prantera C, Davoli M, Lorenzetti R, Pallone F, Marcheggiano A, Iannoni C; et al. (1988). "Clinical and laboratory indicators of extent of ulcerative colitis. Serum C-reactive protein helps the most". J Clin Gastroenterol. 10 (1): 41–5. PMID 3356884.
  3. D'Haens G, Geboes K, Peeters M, Baert F, Ectors N, Rutgeerts P (1997). "Patchy cecal inflammation associated with distal ulcerative colitis: a prospective endoscopic study". Am J Gastroenterol. 92 (8): 1275–9. PMID 9260788.
  4. Kim B, Barnett JL, Kleer CG, Appelman HD (1999). "Endoscopic and histological patchiness in treated ulcerative colitis". Am J Gastroenterol. 94 (11): 3258–62. doi:10.1111/j.1572-0241.1999.01533.x. PMID 10566726.
  5. Silverberg MS, Satsangi J, Ahmad T, Arnott ID, Bernstein CN, Brant SR; et al. (2005). "Toward an integrated clinical, molecular and serological classification of inflammatory bowel disease: report of a Working Party of the 2005 Montreal World Congress of Gastroenterology". Can J Gastroenterol. 19 Suppl A: 5A–36A. PMID 16151544.
  6. Guan Q, Zhang J (2017). "Recent Advances: The Imbalance of Cytokines in the Pathogenesis of Inflammatory Bowel Disease". Mediators Inflamm. 2017: 4810258. doi:10.1155/2017/4810258. PMC 5379128. PMID 28420941.

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