Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Ulcerative Colitis And Mental Health

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Ways To Lessen Stress

Mental health and IBD

You canât get rid of stress entirely. But you can learn to manage it. And studies show you can boost your quality of life when you take care of your mental health.

Ask your doctor for extra help if youâre not sure where to start. They can set you up with a counselor or health psychologist who works with people who have IBD.

They might suggest:

  • Tai chi
  • Guided imagery

You can also just take a little time each day to do something you find relaxing. That could be gardening, reading, or listening to music. Whatever you enjoy.

Drug therapy is another option. Studies show antidepressants might ease pain in people with IBD. Common choices include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants . Ask your doctor if theyâre right for you.

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WARNING: Please DO NOT STOP MEDICATIONS without first consulting a physician since doing so could be hazardous to your health.

DISCLAIMER: All material available on eHealthMe.com is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a qualified healthcare provider. All information is observation-only. Our phase IV clinical studies alone cannot establish cause-effect relationship. Different individuals may respond to medication in different ways. Every effort has been made to ensure that all information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. The use of the eHealthMe site and its content is at your own risk.

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What Pathology/cytology/genetic Studies Will Be Helpful In Making Or Excluding The Diagnosis Of Pulmonary Involvement In Inflammatory Bowel Disease

More than one hundred genetic susceptibility loci for IBD have been identified. However, genetic testing does not currently play a role in making or excluding the diagnosis of pulmonary involvement in IBD. The histologic features of the pulmonary diseases associated with IBD are those of the pulmonary disorder and are not specific to IBD-associated disease. Lymphocytic inflammation may be seen in affected tissues.

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Your Everyday Guide To Living Well With Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon, also known as the large intestine. If youve recently been diagnosed with UC, youll want to familiarize yourself with the basics of the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments all of which are covered in our main guide to the condition.

But if you or a loved one has lived with UC for a while, youre probably looking for information that addresses specific challenges that often come with this condition. This guide aims to provide an overview that goes beyond the basics, instead highlighting relevant topics in a number of areas that may affect you or your family.

Whether youre looking to modify your treatment strategy for UC, to learn about options for managing the condition through diet or other lifestyle measures, or to deal with specific complications or even if you dont know what youre looking for, but you want all the information you can get theres a good chance youll find something helpful in one of the sections below.

Figuring Out Which Foods Trigger Flare

Inflammatory Bowel Disease: Crohn

As the NIDDK explains, although ulcerative colitis isnt caused by diet or nutrition, certain foods can trigger the symptoms or make them worse in some people. The tricky part is figuring out which ones.

Common ulcerative colitis triggers include dairy, high-fiber foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains, spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic. That said, its really individual. Sam has always loved food and says that when it comes to what she can eat now, I have not figured that aspect out. And its not for lack of trying. I feel like I’ve done everything! she tells SELF, explaining that she tries to avoid various food groups like dairy that can trigger symptoms. It doesn’t mean I don’t ever eat them, but I try to avoid them, she says. I’m definitely still experimenting.

Stacey Bader Curry, 48, was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in March 2020 and is concerned about giving up foods she loves, as well as alcohol and coffee. I’m trying to focus on what I can eat and not what I can’t eat, she says.

To figure out whether certain foods might be triggering your symptoms, the NIDDK recommends keeping a food diary where you record everything you eat and any flare-ups to help you work out what your dietary triggers could be.

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Managing Stress And Ulcerative Colitis

Stress is your bodys normal response to situations in which youre expected to perform, but it can take a toll on your mental and physical health when its prolonged or tied to negative emotions, according to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation.

You may be able to reduce stress when you have UC by using these tactics:

  • Being aware of where the nearest bathroom is at all times
  • Carrying extra toilet paper, wipes, or underwear
  • Accepting or letting go of your situation
  • Leaning on friends or family for help when you need it

For more information on UC and stress:

Managing Depression At Home

There are several things you can do at home to cope with negative feelings while you are getting treatment for depression.

Remember that feeling better takes time, and that your mood will likely improve gradually, not immediately. These tips have been adapted from the National Institute of Mental Health booklet on depression:

  • Set realistic goals, keeping your depression in mind, and take on a reasonable amount of responsibility in your daily life.

  • Set your priorities and break big tasks into smaller ones, doing the best you can to tackle them.

  • Make a point to spend time around other people. Confiding in a trusted friend or family member usually feels better than being alone and secretive.

  • Participate in activities that may make you feel better, such as mild exercise, seeing a movie, watching a sporting event, or participating in religious or social events.

  • Postpone major life decisions until your depression has lifted. These decisions may include changing jobs, getting married, or filing for divorce. Discuss important decisions with trusted friends or family members who may have a more objective view of your situation.

  • Dont expect to snap out of it. Instead, expect to feel a little better each day.

  • Ask for and accept help from your family and friends.

  • Know that positive thinking will eventually replace negative thinking as your depression responds to treatment.

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Where Can I Find Further Support

There are a number of places you can visit for support, advice or just a friendly ear.

For 24/7 counselling or crisis support, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Beyond Blue Support Service on 1300 22 46 36.

You can maintain a healthy mind and a healthy body by working with your healthcare professional hand in hand.

So start a conversation today.

This information has been developed in partnership with Janssen Australia and New Zealand. It is provided for education and information purposes only and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional.


  • Mikocka-Walus, A. et al. Clinical Gastroenterology and Heptaology, Volume 14, Issue 6, 829-835.e1** Crohnâs and Colitis Australia. My IBD Experience â Research Report 2018


Sections on this page were developed in 2021 by the GESA IBD Patient Information Materials Working Group

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Manage Daily Life With Uc

Practices for Gut Health That Helped Me Cure My Ulcerative Colitis

Living with UC may require you to make changes to your daily routine, from what you eat to how you exercise, travel, and enjoy activities that symptom flare-ups could potentially interfere with. You may also be interested in strategies to better manage your UC treatment, including exploring complementary and alternative remedies.

Heres a look at different ways to maximize your health and solve problems that may interfere with going about your life when you have UC.

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Your Mental And Emotional Health Are Just As Important As Your Physical Health

People living with ulcerative colitis can absolutely lead a full life. But when the disease is active, its understandable that, because of UC-flare-ups or complications, there can be an impact on a persons quality of life. It can be difficult to cope with a serious and chronic illness. Some patients react to the unpredictable or severe nature of their symptoms. Those feelings can include:


The Link Between Mental Health Disorders And Ulcerative Colitis

Theres a clear connection between ulcerative colitis and mental health conditions like depression, but the reasons for this link arent fully understood.

Ulcerative colitis can have a wide range of symptoms and complications from rectal pain and bleeding to weight loss, skin sores, joint pain, and even kidney and liver problems.

Mental health problems also commonly overlap with ulcerative colitis, although its less clear that they develop as a direct result of the disease. Instead, many people may be somehow predisposed to both conditions.

But theres no question that living with ulcerative colitis brings challenges that can lead to negative thoughts, which may exacerbate symptoms of depression or anxiety in people with these conditions.

Its important to note, though, that theres no evidence showing that stress, tension, or anxiety causesulcerative colitis. But these factors can have a major impact on how you experience and cope with the disease, notes the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Read Also: I Think I Have An Ulcer What Should I Do

Managing Your Work Life With Ulcerative Colitis

Because of the range of disruptive symptoms it can cause, your UC can present difficulties in the workplace whether thats in an office, retail store, or industrial space. You may need to use the bathroom more often than other people, or you may be worried about the impression that gas or bloating make on your coworkers or customers.

There are no easy solutions in this area, but if youre looking for a new job, it may help to ask about policies like working from home, sick days, paid time off, and of course, bathroom breaks. Youll also want to get the best sense possible of whether your potential supervisor, or the workplace in general, is supportive of individual needs and work-life balance.

Although it can be a difficult choice, if your current job isnt compatible with your physical or emotional needs because of your UC, you may need to look for a new job thats a better fit.

For more information on working with UC:

Managing Ulcerative Colitis Complications

7 ways ulcerative colitis can affect your mental health

UC can cause damage both within and outside your gastrointestinal tract, due to the effects of inflammation throughout your body as well as potential nutrient deficiencies caused by poor absorption in your GI tract.

On top of the inflammation and ulceration that UC causes in your colon, it can also lead to more serious problems in your GI tract:

  • Severe bleeding
  • Perforation of your colon
  • Toxic megacolon

All of these GI complications require urgent or emergency medical attention.

Other complications outside your GI tract may develop because of UC:

Read Also: Ulcerative Colitis Worse At Night

Risk Factors For Poor Mental Health Among Aya With Ibd

Given that mental health problems impact quality of life and adherence to medication for those with IBD , it is important to understand risk factors for mental health problems for those with IBD. Findings from empirical studies suggest that, for IBD among AYA, disease severity has an impact on mental health and well-being, although that effect is found in some studies, but not others . In studies that found an effect, paediatric patients with IBD who reported greater disease activity and more pain also reported poorer mental health and well-being compared to peers with IBD in remission : functional impairment and the aggressive treatment regimens for IBD contribute to negative affect.

Mental Health In The General Population During The Pandemic

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 outbreak has had widespread health, economic and social impact. Health care systems have been challenged to manage an onslaught of severely ill individuals deaths due to the coronavirus disease 2019 are now in the millions worldwide and governments have imposed restrictive measures, including lockdowns and business closures to slow transmission. With pandemic sequelae of uncertainty, fear, social isolation, loss and financial insecurity also being major risk factors for deteriorating mental health , it is anticipated that the mental health effects of the pandemic will last well beyond the acute medical consequences .

Evaluations of population-level mental health early in the pandemic signaled high levels of distress across multiple countries . Substance use rates, and particularly alcohol consumption, also increased . While many early studies used convenience samples to take a rapid mental health pulse, potentially biasing outcomes , subsequent studies using representative probability samples confirmed initial assessments. A national Canadian survey identified a quadrupling of those experiencing pervasive elevated anxiety symptoms early in the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic levels and a doubling of those with pervasive elevated depressive symptoms .

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How Common Are Mental Health Issues With Ulcerative Colitis

Its difficult to know exactly how common mental health issues are in people with ulcerative colitis.

Some people with ulcerative colitis may not report psychological stress to their doctors, since they assume its a normal part of the illness or dont want to show weakness.

Even when psychological issues are reported, this may not lead to a definitive diagnosis of anxiety or depression.

But a few studies have tried to estimate the prevalence of mental disorders in ulcerative colitis.

According to an article published in October 2017 in the Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the rate of anxiety and depression in patients with inflammatory bowel disease may be as high as 21 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

In another study, published in 2015 in the Permanente Journal, researchers found that 82 percent of people with ulcerative colitis were also diagnosed with a mental disorder, compared with 54 percent of the general study population. These disorders were more likely to be diagnosed before ulcerative colitis than after it, especially in women.

Not everyone with ulcerative colitis has the same risk of mental health issues.

According to a study published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, factors associated with anxiety in ulcerative colitis include:

  • Severe disease

Factors associated with depression include:

  • Older age
  • Being disabled or unemployed
  • Having a low income

It Helps To Have A Network Of People With Ulcerative Colitis

Women with IBD and the Risk of Postpartum Mental Illness CHEO Discovery Minute

Hopefully, youll find yourself with a tight-knit group of friends and family members who are ready to support you through even your very worst days. But no matter how well-intentioned those loved ones are, the only people wholl really get what its like to live with ulcerative colitis are other people who have it.

Even my best friend and my boyfriend will never understand what I’ve gone through like my friends that have ulcerative colitis do, Skomski says. Until you live it, you don’t know what it feels like to go through all those years of people not believing you, having the worst pain in your life that you have no understanding of. For a really long time, when I was in my denial phase, I thought, I don’t need to have those people in my life, it’s just gonna make me feel like the sick girl all the time. But to have people that have gone through the same thing changed my life. I don’t think I would be so positive and would embrace it as much as I do if it weren’t for having those people in my life that have the same disease as me.

It can also be such a relief to save valuable energy by skipping a few steps in the explaining process. I’m so used to having to go through the whole song and dance of This is what I went through, Skomski says. When I connect with people that have ulcerative colitis, I don’t have to do that. It’s like a weird bond that I didn’t know that I wanted or needed, but I definitely do.

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Experiencing Depression With Ulcerative Colitis

For me at a tender age, I contemplated suicide. The tunnel vision I experienced said that a permanent sleep would be better than suffering.

But thank goodness a dear friend reached out and asked, “Are you all right?” That small question opened the door for me to see just enough light to turn my spirits around.

Sadly, people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis could be at greater risk for depression and anxiety. This could lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. So, those with IBD need to recognize the signs of struggling emotionally.

Exercising With Ulcerative Colitis

Some people with UC find that getting enough of the right kinds of exercise helps them feel better possibly by reducing stress and promoting a general sense of well-being. Exercise can also have long-term benefits that may help counteract certain UC complications, such as by strengthening your bones and possibly lowering your risk of colorectal cancer.

But you may need to take certain precautions while exercising when you have UC, to make sure you dont aggravate your condition and to account for any symptoms youre currently experiencing. Here are some tips:

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