Treatment plan for ulcerative colitis
How can I
make the most of my treatment?
you have your ulcerative colitis under control, it is important to keep
it under control and stop 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 ulcerative colitis.
may have to adapt your diet after
surgery by eating smaller and more frequent meals, and
avoiding drinking large amounts of fluids.
Stick with your treatment plan,
even if you start feeling better or if you get discouraged. 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 too soon.
Another common mistake people make is to stop treatment on their own
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.
Read the information leaflets
to understand how your treatment works and possible side effects to
watch out for.
Remember to take your medicine every day for best results.
Try setting the alarm or asking a friend to telephone you as a
If something changes in your life,
such as work, sport, when you have meals, etc., which affects your
ability to take your medicine, discuss this with your doctor so any
necessary adjustments in your treatment schedule or medication can
be made. (For example, if you find you have difficulty swallowing
tablets, ask about other formulations of your medication.)
Get regular exercise:
Most adults need 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week. This
includes walking, swimming or bicycling. Find something that you
enjoy and use it to help relieve stress as well.
plenty of rest.
Drink lots of fluids throughout the day.
The usual recommendation is 8 glasses a day.
If you have other health conditions,
it is generally okay to take other medicines at the same time as
your IBD medication.
However, use care with some over-the-counter medications
such as aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or
COX-2 inhibitors. If you are unsure, check with your doctor or a
Develop a support system
with family, friends and other people with IBD to help ensure that
you have someone to turn to when you need motivation and support.
Although stress does not cause ulcerative colitis, it can affect
your symptoms. If you are feeling an emotional strain, consider
finding support or even asking to see a counsellor for emotional
support to help you cope.
If you are planning 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 might also consider having your doctor write down a
brief plan for what to do if symptoms arise. Also, be sure to bring
your doctor's contact information with you, and research 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 (http://www.efcca.org).
Another travel tip:
If you are travelling to an area where enteric infections are
common, you may want to discuss with your doctor the possibility of
using antibiotic prophylaxis.
If you are using complementary treatments
(T'ai Chi, acupuncture, supplements), do not stop your ulcerative
colitis medication as these are not a substitute. Be sure to tell
your healthcare professional about any complementary treatments you
Be cautious about misleading information
and 'miracle cures' that can lead you astray and raise false hopes.
Ulcerative colitis can be managed well with the correct medication and
can be eliminated with surgery. If you find alternative 'miracle cures'
that might be of interest to you, then check with your healthcare professiona