Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel condition which affects the lower part of the bowel. It causes inflammation and sores in the bowel which in turn cause symptoms such as pain, diarrhoea and blood in the stool. Symptoms usually come and go, when they are active it is known as a ‘flare’ of the condition, when the symptoms resolve it is known as a period of ‘remission’.
The symptoms of Ulcerative colitis can be very similar to other bowel conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS and bowel cancer. Each of these conditions is treated differently so it is very important to see your GP if you have any of these symptoms. Your GP will refer you for tests to diagnose which condition you have and ensure that you receive the appropriate treatment.
Ulcerative colitis is usually treated with medications during active flares, these aim to control symptoms, reduce the inflammation and bring about remission. Often maintenance doses of medications are given during remission in order to maintain remission periods for as long as possible.
Many people with Ulcerative colitis are told that diet does not play a role either in treatment of flare ups or maintenance of remission, however may people do feel very strongly that diet can exacerbate symptoms during a flare. Also people with inflammatory bowel conditions can find that they get bowel symptoms such as wind, pain and bloating during periods of remission. These symptoms can often be treated very effectively using a low FODMAP diet.
During a flare of Ulcerative colitis there are many ways in which dietary advice from a qualified dietitian can help. You can expect that your dietitian will thoroughly assess your diet, your symptoms and whether you are experiencing any difficulties with eating and drinking or if you are losing weight. The dietary advice will be tailored to help you to avoid foods which exacerbate your symptoms and keep you strong and healthy at a time where you will be feeling unwell, making sure that you continue to have a balanced diet containing all the nutrients that you need. You can have ongoing support as you move through the different stages of flare and remission, so that your diet remains appropriate and healthy for each stage.
If you would like any further information on what we can offer you at Stanner Nutrition Clinic please click here or give us a call.