Common Mistakes That Can Make Ulcerative Colitis Worse

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects an estimated 3 million adults in the United States. UC causes inflammation in the lining of the large intestine that results in small, painful ulcers. People with ulcerative colitis may experience weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bleeding. In some cases, UC may cause life-threatening complications.

Our gastroenterologists at Illinois Gastroenterology Group are trained to diagnose and manage conditions that affect the digestive system, including inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Many adults with IBD find themselves struggling with symptoms that interfere with their daily lives. 

If you’re working to get relief from IBD symptoms, make sure you’re aren’t making common mistakes that could be making your UC worse.

Eating foods that aggravate your symptoms

Different foods affect people with UC differently. Foods that may cause problems in some people may be perfectly fine for others with UC. However, certain foods are more likely to trigger symptoms for most people. 

If you have UC it’s a good idea to keep a food journal and record what you eat and how you feel each day. Soon, the information you record will help you connect the dots when it comes to foods that trigger or worsen your symptoms. 

Foods that commonly trigger UC symptoms include:

Failing to manage stress

For most people with UC, stress is a major trigger. While stress is often unavoidable, you can take steps to manage it. Whether you delegate work or turn down some engagements, reducing your stress load can help you better manage your UC symptoms. 

It’s also wise to engage in stress-relieving activities. Here are some ideas:

Not sticking to your medication routine

Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressant medication to help manage your symptoms. Sticking to your medication routine is necessary to minimize your symptoms, because skipping your meds may trigger a flare-up. Ensuring that you adhere to your medication protocol at all times will help you keep your symptoms under control.  

Failing to seek care from a gastroenterologist

UC is a complex, chronic condition that requires the help of a specialist, and your primary care doctor can only provide limited UC care. Patients who team up with a gastroenterologist to manage their UC are more likely to have an individualized treatment plan that keeps their symptoms in check. So it’s wise to have a care team that includes a gastroenterologist as your main point of contact when it comes to managing your UC.

If you’re dealing with UC, let us answer your questions and execute the most appropriate treatment plan. Call one of our offices to schedule an appointment or request a visit online. We have offices in Elgin, South Elgin, and Lake in the Hills, Illinois. 

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