Daily Life With Ulcerative Colitis

The best way to deal with ulcerative colitis is to seek an effective treatment plan. Additionally, it is helpful to maintain a hopeful outlook, healthy lifestyle, and a strong support network—and to strive for leading a full and productive life. Keeping up with the latest information about your condition and making sure you get the best care possible can also help in managing your disease.

Connecting stress and ulcerative colitis

Some people with ulcerative colitis may feel stress—especially when they’re experiencing a flare-up. But this does not suggest that stress is responsible for UC. Here are some tips that may help you manage stress:

Exercise more

Try yoga or meditation

Seek out counseling

Join a support group

Managing the stress of IBD

Brandi Chastain, world-renowned soccer player and IBD caregiver, talks to IBD psychiatrist Dr. Eva Szigethy about managing the stress associated with IBD.

Eva Szigethy, Ph.D., M.D., M.S., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She specializes in the psychological impact of chronic digestive diseases.

Explaining ulcerative colitis

Having a chronic disease means that you may have chronic symptoms—and may have to deal with some aspect of your condition frequently. That’s why it’s beneficial for friends and family members to understand ulcerative colitis and what you’re going through, since it will be helpful to have their support. Similarly, depending on your situation, you might want to be mindful about informing your co-workers, classmates, and supervisors or teachers of what having UC can be like, so they can prepare to be flexible in case you have to stay home. You might also want to be mindful about letting teachers and supervisors know what your rights are as someone with a chronic disease.

When you register for the Crohn’s & Colitis Advocate Program, you are assigned your own personal advocate who can provide you with educational information and resources. Learn more about free support and one-to-one education.

Talking to others about your needs up front is a helpful way to manage expectations if your symptoms flare up.

Use these tips to help explain ulcerative colitis—and make advocating for yourself easier:

  • Learn about UC. Knowing as much about UC as you can is helpful for you to be able to share the basics of the disease and how it can affect you.
  • Know where to get information. Your teacher, co-worker, friend or family member can benefit from having a copy of Ulcerative Colitis 101. You can also direct them to this site to learn about ulcerative colitis.
  • Know your rights. There may be means to access reasonable accommodations at school and at work through laws such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It may be helpful to explore these means about guidelines and eligibility requirements for potential services and accommodations.

Managing social situations

Brandi Chastain, world-renowned soccer player and IBD caregiver, talks to psychiatrist Dr. Eva Szigethy about managing social situations when you have IBD.

Eva Szigethy, Ph.D., M.D., M.S., is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She specializes in the psychological impact of chronic digestive diseases.

Socializing with ulcerative colitis

Here are some tips that may help some people with ulcerative colitis feel more comfortable handling social situations and going out:

  • Finding out what bathroom facilities are available and where they are located is a good way to prepare for unexpected symptoms.
  • Alcohol, smoking, and drugs affect each person with ulcerative colitis differently. However, they may pose health risks to your intestine and liver and affect your medications. You should ask your doctor for more information.
  • You may look for guidance on how to approach relationships when you have ulcerative colitis. Being honest about your disease with your friends and partner is important—and it might be helpful to learn how to be comfortable when talking about your UC. To find more information on dating and relationships, see the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America’s resources.

Traveling with ulcerative colitis

Researching your destination and planning ahead of time can help make trips go more smoothly. Here are some suggestions:

  • Tell your healthcare team about your travel plans. They may be able to offer advice and information about suggested precautions or immunizations.
  • Research your destination beforehand to find activities and places to stay that seem comfortable to you. Knowing when pharmacies are open, what kind of food is typically available, and if water is safe to drink is also recommended.
  • Bring your healthcare team’s phone numbers and email addresses, as well as copies of insurance cards.

If you have an ostomy bag, make sure you tell TSA personnel before you go through security. Check out the TSA’s page for people with medical conditions, and choose “External Medical Devices” from their drop-down menu.

UC Diet Information

Learn about the importance of proper nutrition and more.

UC Nutrition and Exercise

How Your Medication Works

Take a look at the different kinds of treatments and what they do.

Review UC Treatments

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