Ulcerative Colitis - Kids & Teens
Treatment plan for
How can I make the most of my treatment?
Once you are feeling better, it is important to keep
your symptoms from coming back. Although the causes of a relapse
(return of symptoms) are unknown, there are some things you can do
to help prevent it.
Eat a healthy diet. Each person is different when it
comes to diet and ulcerative colitis. Most importantly, follow a
healthy and balanced diet with plenty of nutrients and vitamins.
Diet does not influence inflammation in the colon in people with
You may have to adapt your diet
after surgery by eating smaller and more frequent meals, and
avoiding drinking large amounts of fluids.
Keep taking your medicine, even if you start feeling
better or if you think it isn't working as well as it used to.
Talk to your doctor before making any changes on your own, and
remember that treatment may take time to work so don't give up
One common mistake people make is to decide to stop taking their
medicine without telling their doctor once their symptoms go
away. Don't make this mistake, as you need to keep
taking your medicine to help keep your symptoms from coming
back. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.
Make sure you understand how your medicine works and
possible side effects to watch out for.
Remember to take your medicine every day for best results.
Try setting the alarm on your mobile telephone or wristwatch, or
asking your mum or dad to send you a text message as a reminder.
If something changes in your life,
such as school, sport, when you have meals, etc., which affects
your ability to take your medicine, discuss this with your
doctor so any changes in your treatment plan or medication can
be made. (For example, if you find you have trouble swallowing
pills, ask about other ways you might be able to take your
Get regular exercise: Most children need 60 minutes
of exercise 5 times a week. This includes walking, swimming or
bicycling. Find something that you enjoy and invite your friends
or family to join in as well.
Get plenty of sleep each and every night. You may
want to stay up late reading or watching television, but it is
more important to do everything you can to make sure you feel
your best the next day.
Drink a lot throughout the day. Children should drink
4 to 8 cups of water a day.
If you have other health problems,
it is usually okay to take other medicines at the same time as
your ulcerative colitis medicine. However, use care with some
over-the-counter medications such as aspirin, non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs or paracetamol). If you are
unsure, check with your doctor or a pharmacist first.
Get help and support from your family, friends and
maybe also other children with Crohn's disease to help ensure
that you have someone to turn to when you have questions or need
Stay positive. Although stress cannot cause
ulcerative colitis, it can affect your symptoms. If you are
feeling upset, talk to a family member or friend. It may help to
see a counsellor for emotional support to help you with your
If you plan to travel, consider asking your doctor
for a letter outlining your medical condition, in case you need
to get medical attention in another city or country. You could
also ask your doctor write down a brief plan for what to do if
you become unwell while you are travelling. Also, be sure to
bring your doctor's contact information with you, and plan ahead
to find out who to contact or where to go if you have any
medical needs while you are travelling. Helpful travel
information for some countries is available at the EFCCA website
What else can I do?
If you need to have a stoma, perhaps after an ileostomy, the bag
(or pouch) must be emptied several times a day. It can, however,
be hidden with clothing and is not usually noticeable. Some
people worry that there will be a smell from the stoma, but this
is not usually a problem. Your doctor or nurse can tell you how
to care for your stoma, and tell you about support groups run by
other people who also have stomas to help answer your questions.
groups: Joining a support group can help you find
other people in your area for education, help and guidance. Many
people say that meeting others with similar medical conditions
can be very helpful, as well as fun. To find a support group in
your country or local area, contact EFCCA (http://www.efcca.org).
Diary: In addition to the checklist provided in this
guide, you may find it helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms
over the period of a month. An example is provided in
Achieving more with IBD.
Ulcerative colitis may be linked to bone mineral loss and hip
fracture, possibly due to the use of corticosteroids, avoiding
dairy foods, poor nutrition and the inflammation itself. Your
doctor may tell you to have your bone density checked regularly
with a scanning machine called a DEXA. If bone density is low,
treatment may be needed. Additionally, you can take steps to
prevent bone loss, including:
Bone mineral loss:
Regular weight-bearing exercise such as brisk walking,
jogging or aerobics
Get more calcium and vitamin D, and also possibly vitamin K
Consider daily treatment to help stop any inflammation
If you have mild disease, don't worry about the section on stoma
care - you will have to have had surgery to have a stoma.