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Managing Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Ups
photo of fit woman holding her abdomen

If you are dealing with chronic abdominal pain due to a flare-up of ulcerative colitis give GI North a call today.

Gastrointestinal problems can cause significant reduction in physical comfort and quality of life. Ulcerative colitis is a common problem that affects men and women equally in the population. The condition causes chronic abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding. The physicians at GI North can provide an effective treatment for this problem. However, even when the patient is under an appropriate treatment plan, flare-ups can occur that disrupt everyday activities and undermine physical well being. Here are a few tips for dealing with these occasional problems:

Understanding Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a condition of the large intestine, in which the colon develops ulcers that cause abdominal pain and changes in stool. The causes of this condition are not well understood, but dietary changes and medications are used to provide relief of symptoms. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the large intestine to prevent chronic inflammation that can lead to colon cancer. Medications, such as aminosalicylates. steroid medications, over-the-counter anti-diarrheals and other drugs can generally control the symptoms of UC.

Common Causes of Flare-Ups

This condition affects every individual differently, and flare-ups can often occur. Some common causes of occasional flare-ups include:

  • Missing medication doses can cause unexpected flare ups
  • Certain foods, such as dairy foods, bran, salads, fruit, beans and seeds can trigger a flare-up.
  • Stress is strongly linked to increased UC flare-ups.
  • Being on an antibiotic for a respiratory or other infection can cause a flare up.
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen for pain relief can cause a sudden flare up.

Managing Minor Flare Ups

Because each flare-up can be different, you should discuss the problem with your physician to ensure that you are doing the right actions to control the flare up. Doctors generally recommend a number of strategies for managing occasional flare-ups:

  • Don’t self-medicate. Using previous medications can often make the problem worse. Talk to your doctor for current treatment.
  • Manage your stress. Engage in exercise or consider learning how to meditate. Biofeedback is another option for managing everyday stress.
  • Don’t stop eating. Many individuals with UC try to stop the symptoms by stopping their food consumption, but this only causes nutritional problems that can undermine health. However, pay close attention to avoiding the types of food that cause problems.
  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory medications. If you need pain medication, talk to your doctor about other options, such as an antispasmodic to relax gut muscles. Acetaminophen can be used to reduce fever.

The experienced physicians at GI North can help UC patients in Cumming, GA, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Suwanee, Dawsonville, Canton, Roswell and other communities. Call 404-446-0600 today for an appointment to discuss your GI condition.

© 2015 GI North Gastroenterology Services. All rights reserved.

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