Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that is characterized by the formation of sores throughout the lining of the colon and rectum. While it can strike people at any age, it is most commonly diagnosed in teens and young adults aged 15-30. Typical symptoms of this chronic condition include abdominal pain, diarrhea with blood or pus, fatigue, weight loss and sometimes other issues such as joint pain, anemia and skin sores. Your gastroenterologist can help you manage this disease with dietary modifications and medications, and many times patients can go into remission with an absence of symptoms for a prolonged period. However, when ulcerative colitis cannot be controlled with these methods, surgery to remove the colon may be considered to permanently rid the patient of the condition. This surgery often entails the removal of the entirety of the colon and rectum in a procedure called a proctocolectomy.