When you suffer from ulcerative colitis, you understand that diarrhea is a part of everyday life. It isn’t something that strikes when you come down with a stomach bug, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you ate too much Mexican food last week. Instead, severe diarrhea becomes a constant for ulcerative colitis patients, and you have to think of new and innovative ideas for dealing with it.
1- The Water Bottle
Diarrhea isn’t just a cog in the wheel of your social life. In fact, when ulcerative colitis patients go through bouts of severe diarrhea, it can present a serious health risk, mostly because of the resulting dehydration. Water and other fluids run through your system without pausing to allow your body to absorb necessary nutrients or the water it requires to perform efficiently, and many patients become hospitalized because of this.
To avoid a trip to the emergency room when you have severe diarrhea, learn to anticipate your ulcerative colitis flare-ups and start carrying a water bottle wherever you go. I have a plastic bottle that I put in the freezer every night, then wrap in an insulated cover to carry with me the next day if I have to leave the house. This ensures that I have a steady water intake, and it’s handy for those torturous hours in traffic. You can substitute water for Gatorade or Powerade if you prefer.
2- The Toilet
Ulcerative colitis patients who suffer from frequent bouts of severe diarrhea must always know where the bathroom is. Whether you’re watching your son’s basketball game in his school gym, or attending a rock concert at your favorite club, it’s necessary to know where you can find a restroom when you need it. I make a habit of knowing where bathrooms are at all times, and it is often the first thing I look for when I go someplace new.
As for your own toilet, severe diarrhea can mean long, painful hours in the john, so your choice of toilet seat can make all the difference. A padded seat, such as those found at PlumbingSupply.com, will only set you back about 40 bucks, and I’m here to tell you that it’s worth it. If you don’t feel like splurging, you can also lay a towel around the toilet seat for additional comfort.
3- The Medication
Even ulcerative colitis patients can benefit from over-the-counter medication that is intended to stop severe diarrhea. I am personally partial to Imodium (you can find it at any drug store in your town), but you can also try Pepto Bismol or Maalox. For best results, I recommend taking the drug as soon as you feel like you might have a UC flare-up so you can stop the problem before it starts, so to speak.
Your doctor can also prescribe prescription medication for severe diarrhea, but these drugs are usually more potent and can be harder on your stomach. For ulcerative colitis patients, abdominal pain can be almost as difficult to bear as diarrhea, so I recommend taking prescriptions only when you feel it is absolutely necessary.
4- The Stress
Although severe diarrhea in ulcerative colitis patients is usually a result of the disease itself, certain stimuli will increase the frequency and severity of your bowel movements. Stress, for example, will prompt bouts in the bathroom, so it’s important to keep your stress levels under control. Try talking to friends and family members about things that make you feel worried or upset, and don’t hesitate to take a “mental break” a few times a day to relieve stress.
5- The Diet
Ulcerative colitis doesn’t require that you follow a specific diet, but certain foods will help stop severe diarrhea, while others will help it along. Binding foods, for example, will help to keep your bowel movements under control, so eat plenty of cereal, carrots, peanut butter, rice and potatoes. Anything that stimulates your bowels, on the other hand, should be avoided.