According to a story from health.usnews.com, a flareup of symptoms can be a time of serious distress for patients with ulcerative colitis, which is a rare type of inflammatory bowel disease. The symptoms of this disease can easily render a patient incapable of doing much of anything, and can mean painful cramps, discomfort, and spending most of the day on the toilet. However, beyond whatever medications you are using, changes to your diet can help a symptom flare resolve more quickly.
About Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a long term condition which is characterized by the appearance of ulcers and generalized inflammation of the rectum and colon. The exact cause of the condition remains a mystery, but there do appear to be some risk factors, such as family history, diet, and exposure to the medication isotrentinoin. Smoking appears to have a slightly protective effect. Symptoms can include anemia, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, fever, and abdominal pain. They tend to appear in a relapsing-remitting pattern. In severe disease there is a risk of serious complications, such as megacolon or inflammatory disease in other parts of the body. The risk of colon cancer is also elevated. Treatment may include dietary changes, medication to control inflammation, and, when complications appear, surgery. To learn more about ulcerative colitis, click here.
Here is a list of food items that you should try to cut out when you are dealing with a symptom flare.
- Whole grain foods. Normally, whole grains are a great option that can provide the body with healthy levels of dietary fiber, but unfortunately, this fiber can actually make ulcerative colitis symptoms worse. Fiber is not easily digested and can exacerbate cramps and abdominal pain. Whole grains include certain breads, popcorn, shredded wheat, oatmeal, and brown rice.
- Raw fruits and veggies. Another choice that is usually very healthy, but just like whole grains, they contain a lot of hard to digest fiber.
- Sugar alcohols. You will need to read some ingredient lists to dodge these completely. Sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. These sweeteners can appear in gum, sodas, ice cream, and even some medicines like cough syrup or vitamins.
- Carbonated beverages. Anything fizzy is a no-go. Sparkling waters, sodas, and other carbonated drinks can promote gas production, make you feel bloated, and worsen other symptoms.
- Beans and legumes. These foods, like fruits, veggies, and whole grains, carry a lot of fiber. Therefore, beans and bean products like hummus are a bad idea during a flare.
- Fermentable food items. Certains foods ferment when introduced to the digestive system, causing bloating. Examples include sauerkraut, dried fruit, and cabbage.
- Seeds and nuts. These are typically good snack options, but they can be difficult to digest and can strain the digestive system, worsening your symptoms.
- Fatty meats. Red meat and processed meats take more time and effort to digest, making these another option that can worsen your symptoms. Go for fish or chicken instead.
- Spicy foods. Put down the hot sauce and give your intestines a break.
- Dairy products. During a flare-up, avoid dairy products like cheese, yogurt, milk, or butter. Generally it is safe to slowly reintroduce dairy once your flare has subsided, however.