When you have a disease such as ulcerative colitis, diarrhea is expected, which is why a carefully planned diet is essential. A diarrhea diet is one that helps to arrest the continual vacation of the bowels, which is the primary symptom of ulcerative colitis. Of course, you first have to know what a diarrhea diet should contain and how to customize it for ulcerative colitis.
Many people believe that drinking lots of fluids while experiencing diarrhea will only cause your production to increase, which is simply not so. A diarrhea diet for ulcerative colitis sufferers should be high in beverages that both hydrate and provide electrolytes, because you’ll be at a high risk for dehydration. In fact, I’ve been hospitalized six times for dehydration alone, so please remember to drink as much as possible.
Imbibing six to eight glasses of water each day is a good start for a diarrhea diet, but you also need beverages that are high in electrolytes. Fruit juices, Gatorade, Powerade and decaffeinated tea are all good choices. I’ve found that green tea is particularly soothing to the stomach, but don’t make it too strong. You’ll want to avoid beverages that can irritate the stomach, such as sodas, milk and coffee.
In most cases, a diarrhea diet should be free of fatty foods, which are known to increase bowel movements in ulcerative colitis patients. This would include deep-fried foods, meat with too much fat and foods containing lots of butter. It’s better to stick with healthy alternatives, such as lean fish or poultry, while you are still experiencing diarrhea. You also should steer clear of potato chips and sweets until the symptoms pass.
Fiber-rich diets are recommended for many people, but not those with ulcerative colitis. While on a diarrhea diet, steer clear of foods that are high in fiber, and try not to eat any at all. Nuts, whole-grain breads, cereals and broccoli are to be avoided. You should also discontinue any supplements that contain excess fiber, and avoid fruit juices that have high fiber concentrations.
Fruits and Veggies
Although some fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, others can positively complement a diarrhea diet for ulcerative colitis sufferers. Bananas, for example, are extremely binding and can help to slow the production of your bowels, and mushrooms are extremely healthy. If you’re going to eat fruits and vegetables, it is also a good idea to peel the skin and remove any seeds before ingestion, as these can cause you to experience more diarrhea.
Eating three large meals a day is not good for the diarrhea diet, as it slows your metabolism and can encourage flares of diarrhea. Instead, consider snacking on small meal portions several times a day, being careful not to over-stuff yourself in one sitting. If you find that diarrhea is worse at a particular time of day, don’t eat around that time when you’re in the middle of an ulcerative colitis flare-up.
After the Diarrhea
During periods of remission, ulcerative colitis patients often switch immediately to a regular diet, hungry for the foods from which they’ve been abstaining for several days. While this might be a powerful urge, try to resist it for as long as possible. Ulcerative colitis sufferers must slowly return to a normal diet, giving their gastrointestinal systems time to readjust. Diving right back into fatty and high-fiber foods can disrupt your bodily functions, starting the diarrhea all over again.