Question: When does surgery become a consideration for treating ulcerative colitis?

Is surgery only considered for the most severe cases where there are potentially life threatening complications, or might surgery be considered in an effort to improve quality of life in more moderate cases of ulcerative colitis. For example, I have been suffering from moderate to severe UC (one hospitalization so far) for the past three and a half years and have been unresponsive to all the medications I have tried: 5-ASAs, steroids, and biologics. I have not achieved remission since the onset of my disease and my symptoms have been constant, significantly affecting my quality of life on a daily basis. I have upwards of 10 loose bowel movements every day, do not sleep well as I have to make several dashes to the toilet each night, and find that I am soiling myself almost weekly.

Although my current prognosis is not life threatening, I often wonder if surgery would help give me my life back or if it would only spur further complications.



Community member


Surgery is always an option for treatment of ulcerative colitis. Like any forms of therapy one must weight the expected benefits and potential risks. This option is reasonable, but before the decision is made, talking to both the surgeon and gastroenterologist about the risks and expected benefits should occur.


Dr. Brian Bressler


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