9 Skin Problems associated with Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that affects the large intestine (colon) and rectum. UC usually causes ulcers in the lining of the colon, including bloody diarrhoea, abdominal cramping, fever, & fatigue.

But, do you know that ulcerative colitis can affect your skin too?

Yes, it is estimated that up to 15 per cent of people withinflammatory bowel disease also experience different types of skin disorders. Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease are the most common types of IBD.

SMILES will help you to understand how skin problems are associated with ulcerative colitis & how to prevent them, especially during ulcerative colitis flare-ups.

9 Skin Problems associated with Ulcerative Colitis

There are different types of skin conditions that might encounter along with UC. Some of colitis skin rashes are explained below:

1. Erythema Nodosum

It is the most common skin problem for people with Ulcerative colitis. This type of skin issue causes tender, red nodules or lumps that usually appear on both the shins. The other symptoms of Erythema nodosum include fever, joint pain, and pain in the legs.

Erythema nodosum may develop during ulcerative colitis flare-ups and disappear on its own when UC is in remission.

2. Pyoderma Gangrenosum

It is the second most common UC related skin problem. This type of skin condition is rare that starts as a cluster of small blisters on your arms, shins or ankles. It often spreads and can form painful ulcers that become infected, if not kept clean.

The exact causes of Pyoderma gangrenosum are unknown, but it might be due to a disorder of the immune system. It can be treated with corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and pain medications.

3. Sweet’s Syndrome

Sweet’s syndrome is another rare skin condition related to IBD. The most common symptoms of this skin condition include fever and painful lesions that appear on your arms, head, face, neck, and trunk. Sweet’s syndrome is also a condition that is linked to active UC flare-ups.

In addition to IBD, other risk factors of Sweet’s syndrome include cancers such as leukemia, an upper respiratory infection, and a sensitivity to certain medications. Sweet’s syndrome can be treated with oral corticosteroids, but it often comes back.

4. Vitiligo

Vitiligo is another skin condition in which your immune system starts destroying skin cells responsible for pigment production. Vitiligo results in the white patches that affect the skin on any part of your body. It may also affect hair, inside of the mouth and eyes.

Vitiligo is more common in people with UC and Crohn’s disease due to immune disorder, but it can affect anyone. Though vitiligo is not contagious or painful, people with vitiligo are more prone to sunburn and eye problems.

5. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a common skin disorder caused by a problem with the immune system. It affects people with ulcerative colitis and other types of IBD. Psoriasis speeds up skin cell production, causing cells to build up in dry skin, and red patches that are itchy and sometimes painful.

This skin condition can show up almost anywhere on the body, including your nails, joints, and genitals. While there is no permanent cure, you can manage psoriasis with topical corticosteroids and retinoids


Bowel-associated dermatosis-arthritis syndrome (BADAS) is a condition that causes small painful bumps on the upper chest and arms. These bumps can then become pus-filled pustules that cause discomfort. Research suggests that BADAS can also cause lesions on the legs.

The exact causes of BADAS are unknown, but researchers suspect that it may relate to inflammation as a result of gut bacteria. BADAS may accompany ulcerative colitis flare-up and usually goes away on its own.

7. Leukocytoclastic Vasculitis

Leukocytoclastic vasculitis (LCV) is also known as hypersensitivity vasculitis that refers to an inflammation in the small blood vessels of your skin. It appears as small, raised purple-coloured spots on your legs or ankles.

Leukocytoclastic vasculitis can be seen in a number of medications, and ulcerative colitis is one of them. In most cases of LCV, the skin lesions go away on their own once the underlying UC is treated.

8. Pyoderma Vegetans

It is one of the rare skin disorders that are caused due to an abnormal immune system. Pyoderma vegetans, which mainly affect people with UC, appear as blisters, plaques or patches around the groin and underarms.

Pyostomatitis vegetans is also a similar condition that causes pustules in your mouth. These two conditions combined are called pyodermatitis-pyostomatitis vegetans. Treatment for these skin conditions typically involves treating the ulcerative colitis itself.

9. Hives

Urticaria, also known as hives, is a skin rash that occurs anywhere on the body. Hives appear as swollen, pale red bumps or plaques on the skin. They form due to the reaction of immune system activity in the body.

In rare cases, people with severe UC could have allergic reactions that cause hives. Hives usually cause itching but may also burn. Sometimes the medications they are taking for UC can also cause chronic hives.

How to prevent skin problems associated with Ulcerative Colitis?

The best way to manage any of the skin condition or skin problems is to manage UC itself- says the best ulcerative colitis treatment doctors in Bangalore.

When colitis flare-up occurs, try the following that helps reduce skin problems associated with UC.

  • ● Stress can bring on a flare of ulcerative colitis, and it’s possible that a flare can worsen related skin problems. Hence, meditation or deep breathing may be helpful to reduce stress.
  • ● Try covering up problem areas with a moist bandage to minimize the outward appearance of skin problems.
  • ● Keep the skin lesions clean to prevent infections and promote healing.
  • ● Take corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
  • ● Eat a well-balanced diet to promote skin health.

Don’t give a chance to your skin problems to get worse over a time. Stop worrying about how to manage your ulcerative colitis. Approach Dr Parameshwara C M  for the best treatment from top ulcerative treatment expert in Bangalore at SMILES.