WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the colon (large intestine). Ulcers (sores) form on the inner lining of your colon and cause bleeding and inflammation.
- Anti-inflammatory medicine: This medicine helps decrease inflammation. They include steroids and aminosalicylates.
- Immunosuppressant: This medicine helps control your immune system and decrease inflammation.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist as directed:
Keep a written record of your bowel movements. Include the color, form, and if they were bloody. Bring this to your follow-up visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
- Eat a variety of healthy foods: This helps you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. Your primary healthcare provider may give you vitamins or minerals to improve your nutrition if you have severe ulcerative colitis.
- Drink liquids as directed: Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk. Do not drink alcohol. This can make your symptoms worse.
- Get plenty of exercise: Ask about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can help prevent constipation, decrease your blood pressure, and improve your health.
- Manage stress: Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.
Contact your primary healthcare provider or gastroenterologist if:
- You have a fever, chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
- You have abdominal pain that does not go away or gets worse after you take medicine.
- Your abdomen is swollen.
- You lose weight without trying.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
- You have a fast heart rate, fast breathing, or are too dizzy to stand up.
- You have severe abdominal pain.
- Your vomit has blood in it or looks like coffee grounds.
- You see blood in your bowel movement.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.