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Ulcerative Colitis

You have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition that causes inflammation and ulcers in the rectum and colon. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The symptoms usually develop over time. There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms, and cause a remission.

Symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • Abdominal cramps and pain

  • Diarrhea, usually bloody

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Rectal pain

  • Fever

  • Decreased appetite and weight loss

  • Low energy

Home care

No one knows what exactly causes IBD. The goal is to control and relieve the symptoms, and prevent complications, so you can lead a full and active life. Although there is no cure, and no


Your diet did not cause your condition, but it can affect it. Unfortunately, no one diet that works for everyone, so you have to experiment. Below are some recommendations, but what works for you may be different. Keep a food log to figure out what you are sensitive to.

  • Eat more slowly. Eat smaller amounts at a time, but more often. Remember, you can always eat more, but can't eat less once you've eaten too much.

  • High-fiber foods are complicated. While they may help constipation, they can make bloating, cramping, gas, and diarrhea worse.

  • Eat less sugar.

  • Try avoiding dairy products.

  • Try cutting out foods that are high in fat and fatty meats.

  • You can control bloating and passing excess gas. Be careful with "gassy" vegetables and fruits like beans, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.

  • Be careful of carbonated beverages and fruit juices. They can make bloating and diarrhea worse.

  • Caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants may make symptoms worse.


Although stress doesn't cause IBD, it is a factor in flare-ups, and how you feel and react to your condition.

  • Look for things that seem to make your symptoms worse, such as stress and emotions.

  • Counseling can help you deal with stress. So can self-help measure like exercise, yoga, and meditation.

  • Depression can be a part of this illness and antidepressant medicine may be prescribed. This may actually help with diarrhea, constipation, and cramping, as well as symptoms of depression.

  • Smoking can make symptoms worse.


Your health care provider may prescribe medicines. Take them as directed. For acute flares, additional prescription medicines can be prescribed. Call your provider if you need these.

  • Ask your health care provider before taking any medicines for diarrhea.

  • Avoid anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen or naproxen.

  • Consider nutritional supplements. This is especially true if the diarrhea is prolonged, or you aren't eating or are losing weight.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your health care provider, or as advised. Tell your provider if you lose more than 10 pounds over 3 to 6 months, and you aren't trying to lose weight.

If a stool sample was taken, or cultures were done, you will be told if they are positive, or if your treatment needs to be changed. You can call as directed for results.

If X-rays were done, a radiologist will look at them. You will be told if you need a change in treatment.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • Trouble breathing

  • Confusion

  • Very drowsy or trouble awakening

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Rapid heart rate

When to seek medical advice

Call your health care provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Bleeding from your rectum

  • Frequent diarrhea or abdominal pain that's not controlled by your medicine

  • Bloody diarrhea

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your health care provider

  • Persistent nausea or repeated vomiting 


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