In the management of Crohn's disease, earlier aggressive treatment is becoming accepted as a strategy to prevent or retard progression to irreversible bowel damage. It is not yet clear, however, if this same concept should be applied to ulcerative colitis. Hence, we review herein the long-term structural and functional consequences of this latter disease. Disease progression in ulcerative colitis takes six principal forms: proximal extension, stricturing, pseudopolyposis, dysmotility, anorectal dysfunction, and impaired permeability. The precise incidence of these complications and the ability of earlier, more aggressive treatment to prevent them have yet to be determined.
Copyright © 2011 Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, Inc.