Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition caused by tiny ulcers that flare up periodically in the colon and rectum, causing bloody stool, diarrhea, and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms. While ulcerative colitis has no known cause and thus cannot be prevented, lifestyle measures can be taken to help control the symptoms of this disease. Experts find that many people with this condition also have trouble with their immune systems, but it’s unclear whether this is a cause or symptom of the disease. Read on to learn more about living with ulcerative colitis.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis usually appear between the ages of 15 and 40. Most people who have this ailment have periods where the symptoms are quite severe, followed by periods during which the symptoms are in remission. In addition to digestive symptoms such as abdominal cramping, diarrhea, bloody stools, and the urgent need to have a bowel movement, ulcerative colitis can also cause fever, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss, and dehydration. Controlling the symptoms is an important part of living with this disease.
For some people, certain foods tend to lead to flare-ups of the ulcers. Common culprits are spicy foods and dairy, though it can vary from person to person. Your doctor can help you learn to track your symptoms to identify and avoid the cause of your flare-ups.
In general, eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet–especially when you’re not experiencing symptoms–can help you avoid the malnutrition and dehydration that often occur with this disorder. Eat small amounts of food throughout the day, and drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Most people with this condition should also avoid high-fiber foods such as beans, as well as fatty, fried and greasy foods. And because stress is often a trigger, take measures to promote relaxation, such as getting enough sleep or practicing yoga or meditation.
Medications can also be prescribed to control the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. These drugs, called aminosalicylates, help to reduce inflammation in the colon, rectum, and intestines. In some cases, doctors may prescribe stronger anti-inflammatory drugs, such as corticosteroids, when symptoms do not respond to weaker medications.
See a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Left untreated, the disease can lead to severe dehydration and a greatly diminished quality of life. He or she can diagnose this illness and come up with a treatment plan to prevent symptoms from occurring. If you have ulcerative colitis, you should also have regular screenings for osteoporosis and colon cancer.
Featured Image: depositphotos/tashatuvangoPosted on May 5, 2023