It’s easy to over-indulge on food and drink over the festive period, but for those who are living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), it can be a difficult time to manage their condition.
IBD conditions effect one in every 123 people in the UK and have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life, affecting their diet and social life; conditions such as ulcerative colitis (UC) are a type of IBD. Ulcerative colitis specifically, is a long-term condition which causes the colon and rectum to become inflamed. UC can cause diarrhoea, severe stomach pain and increased bowel movements. When these symptoms appear, it’s known as an ulcerative colitis flare-up.
What could cause an ulcerative colitis flare-up at Christmas?
- Food and drink that can irritate your gastrointestinal tract
Flare-ups can differ from person to person living with the condition. It’s not yet known what causes ulcerative colitis, however further research into the condition may be able to help treat the flareups. There are several things people with ulcerative colitis can do to prevent flareups.
Managing stress with ulcerative colitis
Holidays such as Christmas can be an incredibly stressful time for most, but it can be exacerbated if you’re living with bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, whether it’s the financial stress of buying presents, worrying about spending Christmas alone or stressing about spending time with family who you aren’t close to anymore.
If you’re living with ulcerative colitis and stressing during the festive season, you could put yourself at risk of a flare-up. Try to be realistic when making Christmas plans – the holidays don’t have to be perfect and traditions can change; even though plans can be different from years prior, you can find new ways to celebrate. If you stress over your Christmas organising being too last minute, try to plan ahead when it comes to buying presents and plan out a shopping list for Christmas dinner.
Eating during Christmas with ulcerative colitis
For those who struggle with flare-ups because of certain foods, the festive time can be a struggle to manage ulcerative colitis; from trays of nibbles and canapes at Christmas parties and the all-important Christmas dinner.
When dining out, make sure to check the menus of restaurants before your visit so you know what food will work for you. Always make sure to have enough medicine with you when dining out or eating away from home in case of a flare-up. A flare-up can be embarrassing for some, especially if you need to use the toilet suddenly or frequently, but by communicating with your loved ones, they can help to give the support you might need.
MAC Clinical Research is striving to improve the lives of those living with ulcerative colitis. Through patient participation in clinical trials, we hope to improve treatment options and improve quality of life.
MAC are conducting a new study for a potential ulcerative colitis treatment, but we need your help. If eligible you will receive up to £2,895 for your time and commitment and reasonable travel expenses will be paid.
If you are aged 18 – 80, have had ulcerative colitis for at least 3 months and you are interested in taking part in a clinical trial, read more about our current ulcerative colitis research here.