Most people who live with Ulcerative Colitis take medications and avoid foods that trigger flare ups to keep their symptoms at bay. Frequently, despite the medication and avoidance of trigger foods, flare ups present and cause a host of problems and symptoms. One of the most common symptoms related to ulcerative colitis is diarrhea.
Diarrhea associated with UC can be severe, sometimes occurring ten to twenty times a day. It is not unusual for people suffering from ulcerative colitis diarrhea to be woken from a sound sleep to evacuate their bowels. The constant diarrhea can lead to dehydration and abnormal weight loss. In some cases, the flare ups are so severe that bloody diarrhea occurs and is accompanied by severe stomach cramps and mucus in the stool.
Not only does ulcerative colitis cause extreme physical discomfort and pain, but the constant diarrhea also greatly diminishes quality of life and can become a source of embarrassment and shame for sufferers. For those who suffer with ulcerative colitis, life can never be spontaneous. All trips and everything else in their daily life must be planned so that they know where the nearest restrooms are located so they are able to get to them when a flare up attacks.
Managing diarrhea flare ups and attacks can be done through medications and watching what you eat. Even when flare ups are inactive, it is important to continue to take the medications your doctor prescribed. Watching what you eat can also help prevent frequent flare ups. Alcohol, fatty foods and sauces, bloat inducing foods such as beans and broccoli, dairy and creamy foods, seeds and nuts, corn, mushrooms, onions and sodas
have all been found to irritate ulcerative colitis and avoiding these foods may help prevent flare ups. Keeping a food diary can help you ascertain which foods cause your flare ups and diarrhea and can help you tailor your diet to make attacks less frequent.
Some people treat the symptoms of diarrhea and bloody diarrhea with herbs and supplements. Aloe Vera, licorice root, omega-3 fatty acids, slippery elm and boswellia are all used to treat symptoms. While these holistic approaches have not been clinically proven, some people report that incorporating them into their treatment regimen has given them good results.
When diarrhea attacks are extremely severe and medications, supplements, and watching food intake does not help suppress symptoms, surgery may be the only option for relief. In these cases, the large intestine is removed, which eliminates the bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and other symptoms associated with ulcerative colitis.
Living with ulcerative colitis and its symptoms is a challenge. Medications, diet modifications and surgery are currently the only options available for treatment. Be sure you take your medication as prescribed by your doctor, watch what you eat and talk to your primary care provider immediately if your symptoms worsen, bloody diarrhea is frequent or if you are experiencing weight loss or other severe symptoms. Your doctor can help you discuss your options and determine the best course of treatment for managing your ulcerative colitis and the diarrhea and symptoms that accompany it.
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