As with any chronic disease, ulcerative colitis (UC) will affect your life in more ways than just your physical health. While many patients can achieve clinical recovery (near-complete or near-complete resolution of symptoms), your life has now taken a new path. If you have symptoms that interfere with your lifestyle, be sure to discuss this with your gastroenterologist. There may be other medical options.
While it is undoubtedly unwelcome, UCSD doesn’t have to identify you or control your entire life. Here are some tips and strategies for coping with this condition.
It is normal to worry about how you will manage from now on and what the future may hold for you. Even if your symptoms are under control now, it is very common to have concerns that your symptoms will return at an unexpected time. You will likely have bad days and good days – both mentally and physically. Be prepared and understand that feelings of anxiety and depression usually ease over time. Tell your doctor without delay if you feel tired.
took charge. There are several things you can do to stay on a positive track:
- Be physically active
- Follow your doctor’s nutritional advice
- Take your prescribed medications
- Don’t be a hermit – maintain your social relationships and carry on with previous activities you enjoyed
- Let family and friends know what’s going on, and reduce contact with those who aren’t supportive
- Find out everything you can about UC and join support groups in person or online
For some activities, you may have to make adjustments in light of persistent symptoms. When going out, mark the locations of the toilets in case of an urgent need for stool. Try to secure aisle seats on planes and trains. If pain and fatigue remain an issue, ask your supervisor at work or school officials to provide amenities such as more flexible scheduling. If you are an adult in an intimate relationship, sex is still very possible but you and your partner should be aware that “accidents” can happen and that sometimes you can be very tired.
Remember that your doctor’s job is to help you, but he or she cannot work in an information vacuum. On your appointments, don’t be shy to ask questions and discuss issues you’re having. Bring the lists with you and make sure you have answers you can understand. Your doctor may recommend seeing other specialists to help with financial issues, mental health issues, and other concerns beyond the expertise of a gastroenterologist.
The US-based Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and its British counterpart, Crohn’s & Colitis UK, maintain a series of informative, patient-oriented, printable web pages and materials about living with the University of California. you can find them over here And the over here.
Read previous installments in this series:
Medical Journeys is a collection of clinical resources reviewed by physicians, intended for the medical team as well as the patients they serve. Each episode of this 12-part journey through a state of illness contains a doctor’s guide and downloadable/printable patient resource. Medical Journeys chart every step of the way for doctors and patients and provide resources and ongoing support, as the team of caregivers navigate the disease course.