Ulcerative Colitis - Topic Overview
Ulcerative colitis affects everyone differently. Your doctor will help you find treatments that reduce your symptoms and help you avoid new flare-ups.
If your symptoms are mild, you may only need to use over-the-counter medicines for diarrhea (such as Imodium). Talk to your doctor before you take these medicines.
Many people need prescription medicines, such as aminosalicylates, steroid medicines, or other medicines that reduce the body's immune response. These medicines can stop or reduce symptoms and prevent flare-ups.
Some people find that certain foods make their symptoms worse. If this happens to you, it makes sense to not eat those foods. But be sure to eat a healthy, varied diet to keep your weight up and to stay strong.
If you have severe symptoms and medicines don't help, you may need surgery to remove your colon. Removing the colon cures ulcerative colitis. It also prevents colon cancer.
People who have ulcerative colitis for 8 years or longer also have a greater chance of getting colon cancer. The longer you have had ulcerative colitis, the greater your risk.2 Talk to your doctor about your need for cancer screening. These tests help find cancer early, when it is easier to treat.3
Ulcerative colitis can be hard to live with. During a flare-up, it may seem like you are always running to the bathroom. This can be embarrassing. And it can take a toll on how you feel about yourself. Not knowing when the disease will strike next can be stressful.
If you are having a hard time, seek support from family, friends, or a counselor. Or look for a support group. It can be a big help to talk to others who are coping with this disease.