Out and About With UC

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When you have ulcerative colitis, your need for a bathroom break can be urgent and unpredictable, making it hard to be out and about. UC affects the large intestine, causing symptoms like sudden diarrhea, pain, gas, and sometimes bleeding. You may feel like you need to go but can't.

There are steps you can take to manage your symptoms so that you don't have to give up on going out. With some advanced planning and organizing, you can get on with your life and not let UC cramp your style. Find out ahead of time where nearby bathrooms are located in case you need one. There are even apps for that.

Have a go bag packed with healthy snacks, water, and meds. If you're eating out, check the menu before you get there. That way you can stay hydrated. Eat foods that do not cause flares. And stay on your medication schedule.

Bring a change of clothes and bathroom wipes so that if you need them, they're right there with you. Order a free restroom request card online. You can get it from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. Show the card to shop owners, restaurant managers, or attendants. It lets them know you need to use the bathroom for medical reasons.

Consider telling friends, family, and colleagues about your UC. Check reputable online resources for suggestions about tackling the subject and jot down or think through how you'd like to approach it. It may feel like something you don't want to get into. But if you're out with friends and family, they can help find a bathroom or get you home if your UC kicks up.

If you're traveling, research where you're going ahead of time. If you're going abroad, learn phrases in the local language to ask for help or find a bathroom. Understand the local customs so you can anticipate what you need to do to get help when you need it.

You don't have to tell your employer or school about your UC. But if you do, be aware of where they must accommodate your needs according to guidelines and eligibility. Stress doesn't cause UC, but it may trigger a flare. Learn techniques to handle your stress, whether it's meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or even just listening to music you love.

UC doesn't always have to mean you restrict your daily activities. In many people, the symptoms are mild to moderate. And there are treatments that can help. There may be times when you need to adjust your schedule or plans, but you can often get out and about comfortably even with UC.