Ulcerative Colitis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A normal colon and ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The large intestine (colon) gets inflamed and ulcers form in your colon. These ulcers can bleed.

People have "attacks" of ulcerative colitis. Attacks can come and go. They can cause painful belly cramps and bloody diarrhea.

This disease can affect part or all of the colon. How bad the disease gets will often depend on how much of the colon is affected.

Bad attacks are often treated in a hospital. There you can get medicines, fluid, and nutrition through a tube in your vein, called an IV. This lets your digestive system rest and recover.

If the medicines don't work well, surgery may be needed to remove the colon.

At home, you can help control your ulcerative colitis. Take your medicines and try to eat well. And see your doctor as much as he or she recommends.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • Do not take anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). They may make your symptoms worse.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take any other medicines or natural health products.
  • Eat healthy foods. Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse. These might include milk, alcohol, or spicy foods.
  • Make sure to get enough iron. Rectal bleeding may make you lose iron. Foods with a lot of iron include beef, lentils, spinach, and raisins. They also include iron-enriched breads and cereals.
  • Take any nutrition supplements that your doctor prescribes.
  • This disease can affect all parts of your life. Get support from friends and family. You may also want to get some counselling.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have severe belly pain.
  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have signs of needing more fluids. You have sunken eyes and a dry mouth, and you pass only a little dark urine.
  • You have a fever or shaking chills.
  • Your belly is bloated.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You pass new bloody stools, or the bloody stools are worse.
  • You have diarrhea for more than 2 weeks.
  • You have unexplained weight loss.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 9, 2016