If you’ve recently been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, you may worry that you’ll have to put your life on hold. Fortunately, ulcerative colitis doesn’t have to bring a stop to your life plans; you might just need to make some changes in the way you carry them out.
Make Small Adjustments
It’s essential to have an upbeat attitude as you adjust to the changes ulcerative colitis can bring about. Support from family and friends, and involvement with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), can help you maintain a positive outlook. Never be wary of allowing the condition to interfere with your life. Things such as school finals, jobs, and other obligations can be put on hold, when it comes to getting the important medical attention that you need.
Make Practical Considerations
As you learn more about the illness, you will find that expecting a chronic condition not to impact your life is simply unrealistic. But also, realize that you don’t have to dramatically change your life plans. Instead, make smaller changes in your daily life to manage the ulcerative colitis more effectively.
One such change can be your eating habits. By paying attention to your body, you will find that you feel better consuming smaller quantities at each sitting. So instead of “three squares,” maybe eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day. Because each person’s needs are different, keeping a food diary of your own can help you determine which foods upset you — whether it’s something specific, like fiber, or something more general, like eating larger meals — and you’ll know how to be extra careful when you’re out and about.
Many people with ulcerative colitis suffer water loss from excessive diarrhea during attacks. So drinking a lot of water throughout the day is another habit you will need to develop to avoid the dehydration and weakness that can result.
Another practical consideration for people with ulcerative colitis: mapping out where the bathrooms are when you’re away from home. Planning out your route, even for an afternoon of shopping, can make you feel more secure about leaving the house. Find out where the bathroom is as soon as you get to a restaurant or theater so you won’t lose time should you need to use it in a hurry.
If you’re going through a period of frequent diarrhea attacks and will be out of your house, carry a change of underwear and anything else you think you might need in the event of an accident. This pre-planning can help keep stress to a minimum when your ulcerative colitis symptoms are not entirely under control.
Learn About Organizations That Offer Support
Living with a chronic disease can put a great emotional strain on many people, and it’s important to get support for your colitis when you need it, especially if anxiety over the disease, more than the disease itself, is keeping you from functioning on a daily basis. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has chapters nationwide that sponsor support groups and can be a great source of strength. The CCFA keeps its members up to date on the latest treatments and works to raise awareness about inflammatory bowel diseases.
Get Support From Friends and Family
People with ulcerative colitis shouldn’t hesitate to lean on family and friends during difficult times. The more people you tell, the more people know about the condition. It is important to spread awareness about this condition that is still unfamiliar to many people. Knowledge is power when it comes to living well with ulcerative colitis.