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  • Writer's pictureDr. Dooreck with Zoeya Gordon

Taking Control: Navigating Life with a New Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosis

Updated: Feb 9


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Being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine, causing symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.


If you've recently been diagnosed with UC, it's essential to understand the condition, what causes it, and how it can be managed.


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Here are some steps you can take to take control of your condition and start managing your symptoms:


1. Learn about Ulcerative Colitis


One of the most important things you can do as a newly diagnosed UC patient is learn as much as possible about the condition. Understanding the underlying causes, symptoms, and available treatments can help you make informed decisions about your health and play an active role in managing your condition.


You can start by talking to your doctor, researching online, or discussing with other patients with ulcerative colitis.


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2. Work With Your Doctor


Your doctor will be critical in your UC treatment and management plan. They will help you develop a personalized treatment plan involving medications, lifestyle changes, or a combination.


It is very important to keep open communication with your doctor and discuss any concerns you may have. They will monitor your condition periodically to ensure that your treatment plan is working, make adjustments as necessary, and recognize any early signs of complications related to the condition.


3. Make Lifestyle Changes


Lifestyle changes can also play a significant role in managing UC symptoms. Some changes you can make include:


- Eating a balanced diet low in fiber, dairy, and spicy foods. Your doctor may recommend supplements to give you the nutrients you may lose due to UC.


- Exercise regularly can help reduce stress, increase endorphin production, and promote a healthy digestive system.


- Getting enough sleep, as a lack of good quality sleep can result in increased anxiety and stress, which can trigger flare-ups.


Exercise regularly, as exercise can help reduce stress, increase endorphin production, and promote a healthy digestive system.

4. Seek Support


Dealing with UC can be emotionally challenging. Seeking support from family, friends, and support groups can help you build a robust support system and reduce feelings of isolation. Support groups allow individuals diagnosed with UC to share their experiences and tips for managing symptoms and seek emotional support from peers with similar conditions.


5. Manage Stress


Stress can trigger UC flare-ups, so finding ways to manage stress levels is crucial. Some strategies that may be helpful include:


- Breathing exercises and meditation.


- Exercise regularly


- Taking a break and doing something that you enjoy, such as reading, gardening, or watching your favorite shows


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6. Stick to Your Treatment Plan


Managing UC requires a long-term commitment to your treatment plan. It's advised to follow your doctor’s instructions, take medications as prescribed, and inform them of any side effects experienced. Regular check-ups are essential to ensure that your treatment plan is working and prevent possible long-term complications of the condition.


Resources


1. Crohn's and Colitis Foundation – The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers education, support, and research to improve the lives of people with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) such as ulcerative colitis. Their website provides information about IBDs, treatment options, local resources, and patient assistance programs.


2. Support Groups – Local or online support groups can provide emotional support and practical advice for individuals with ulcerative colitis. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation and other local organizations often offer support group meetings for those affected by IBD.


3. Mental Health Support – Individuals with ulcerative colitis may experience anxiety or depression due to the physical and emotional burden of the disease. Mental health counseling or therapy can help individuals with ulcerative colitis manage their emotions, leading to a better overall quality of life.


4. Nutrition Counseling – Nutrition is a critical component of managing ulcerative colitis, and working with a registered dietitian experienced in managing IBDs can help individuals make informed dietary choices and design a meal plan that meets their needs.


5. Gastroenterologist – A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of digestive diseases, including ulcerative colitis. Working with a gastroenterologist can help individuals get the expert care they need to manage their condition.


It's important to note that each person's journey with ulcerative colitis is unique, and what may work for one person may not work for another. By utilizing these resources and seeking support, individuals with ulcerative colitis can develop strategies to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives.


Below is an informational video from the Mayo Clinic on Ulcerative Colitis.




Statistics


1. Ulcerative colitis affects an estimated 1.6 million Americans.


2. The prevalence of ulcerative colitis is highest in North America and Europe.


3. Ulcerative colitis is increasing worldwide, particularly in newly industrialized countries.


4. Ulcerative colitis usually develops between the ages of 15 and 30, although it can occur at any age.


5. Men and women are equally likely to develop ulcerative colitis.


6. While stress is believed to exacerbate ulcerative colitis symptoms, it does not cause the condition.


7. The risk of developing ulcerative colitis is higher in people who smoke cigarettes.


8. About 25% of people with ulcerative colitis also have a family member with the condition.


9. The risk of colorectal cancer is increased in people with ulcerative colitis, particularly those who have had the condition for many years.


10. Most people with ulcerative colitis can lead healthy and productive lives with proper treatment and management.


Summary


In conclusion, being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis can appear daunting, but with the proper treatment, lifestyle changes, and support, you can manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Remember to learn about your condition, communicate honestly with your doctor, seek emotional support, and manage stress. Take care of yourself and stick to your treatment plan, and you can lead a whole, healthy life.


Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthily. 🌱 🌾 🌿


Personally


I eat a high-fiber, mostly plant-based 🌱 diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on keeping nutrition simple. I am sharing what works for me and what I routinely recommend to my patients.


"Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🌱 🌾 🌿"

Gut Health ➕ Patient Advocacy with Navigation ➕ Life Balance


If you were looking for information about Private Healthcare Navigation and Patient Advocacy from Executive Health Navigation


Connect with Dr. Dooreck on LinkedIn, where he focuses his sharing on Health, Diet, Nutrition, Exercise, Lifestyle, and Balance.


 

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