Ulcerative Colitis: A pain in the Bum

First of all, sorry for the ridiculous title, but one of the only ways to deal with problems like this is to laugh about them, so I make quite a lot of poo jokes on a day to day basis to keep spirits high. And the point of this post is to not only to make people aware of the disease, but to help people who suffer from it to talk and just let it all out. Of course it can be quite an embarrassing condition but the more you talk about it with people the easier it gets.... 


What is Ulcerative Colitis?

UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that only affects the large intestine, unlike Crohns which affects the small intestine. It can be located in different parts of the large intestine or all of it which is when your symptoms are usually worse. It is an autoimmune disease like arthritis or asthma and the immune system goes into overload and basically attacks the body's own cells thinking that they are a foreign body, however, there is no clear suggestion as to what causes it. After reading several books on the gut and the microbiome, there are suggestions that the diversity of the gut may be a factor that links to UC but there is not yet enough evidence to say whether a lack of diversity or certain microbes are the cause of the problem. 
Symptoms 

There are a variety of symptoms that come with UC and they can be moderate to pretty awful but some of the common ones are: 
-Stomach cramps 
-Blood in stools 
-Change in bowel movement 
-Bowel urgence
-Constipation 
-Diarrhea 
-Fatigue 

How I deal with it 

Unfortunately it is chronic so there is no way to magically cure the disease and in order to keep the problems under control it requires a lot of tablets. If you are taking tablets and they don't work, doctors usually keep making you try different types of steroids etc until they find some that do. The usual tablet for UC is Mesalazine on top of the extras to help keep things in check. However as I haven't found a drug that works for me yet I do my own things to try and keep my symptoms in remission....

Exercise - And lots of it. I have noticed that if I am feeling bloated or suffering from fatigue, heading to the gym or doing any type of exercise usually sorts things out pretty quickly. Exercise makes me feel good and it's a good way to distract me from the things that aren't making me feel so nice. 

Yoga & Pilates - In a similar way to exercise, Yoga & Pilates take my mind off the pain and sometimes certain moves help aid the digestive flow if you are suffering from bloating and constipation. Try looking for specific types of Yoga for UC on Youtube. 

Rest & Alone Time - Sometime I will admit that it does all get too much and I really do struggle to cope. It's days like this when I know I just need to rest and be by myself. If my stomach isn't feeling too good I always get a hot water bottle and then sometimes I just need to chill and watch a film. Your body is constantly doing overtime as your immune system is attacking it and causing inflammation and it may just be a bit of rest that you need. If you're looking for food to fight inflammation check out my previous post on anti inflammatory foods here.

Cya!
Eryn


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