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Colon Ulcer Symptoms

author image Rae Uddin
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
Colon Ulcer Symptoms
Colon ulcers can cause bowel movement changes. Photo Credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
Medically Reviewed by
George Krucik, MD, MBA

People who develop open skin sores called ulcers along the lining of the colon have a medical condition called ulcerative colitis. Ulcers in the colon are most frequently diagnosed in men and women between the ages of 15 and 30, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. People who experience colon ulcer symptoms should seek care from a medical professional.

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Bowel Movement Changes

Bowel movement changes are one of the most common symptoms associated with colon ulcers. Affected people can experience frequent bouts of diarrhea interspersed with episodes of constipation, according to UpToDate. These bowel movement changes may be accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping or bloating, which can be severe. People who develop persistent bowel movement changes should consult a doctor.

Rectal Bleeding or Discharge

Depending upon the severity of the ulcers, some patients can develop symptoms of rectal bleeding or unusual rectal discharge, The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library reports. Stools produced during a bowel movement can appear red or dark in color due to the presence of blood. Certain people may also excrete small amounts of mucus or pus in their stools due to a colon ulcer. People who experience these colon ulcer symptoms require prompt medical care.

Diminished Appetite and Weight Loss

Chronic bowel movement problems can cause a diminished appetite and weight loss in people who have a colon ulcer, MedlinePlus warns. Colon inflammation caused by ulcerated skin lesions can affect the way in which the body absorbs nutrients and fluids from ingested foods. Inadequate nutrition can exacerbate weight loss symptoms and may contribute to dehydration in certain people.

Flulike Symptoms

Flulike symptoms, such as fever, fatigue or joint pain can arise in people with colon ulcers, the NDDIC reports. These symptoms typically occur when inflammation from the colon extends to other regions of the body. Patients who develop persistent or high fever symptoms should seek care from a physician.


Blood loss from the colon caused by severe ulcers can lead to anemia in some patients. Anemia, or low red blood cell levels, can cause symptoms of pale skin, fatigue, breathing difficulties, headache, dizziness, heart rate irregularities or cold extremities. If these symptoms arise, affected people should consult a doctor for further evaluation and care.

Growth Delays

Children who develop colon ulcers can experience growth delays as a symptom of the condition. Colon ulcers can interfere with nutrient absorption along the digestive tract, which can prevent children from receiving the dietary vitamins and minerals necessary to reach healthy growth milestones.

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