Living With Ulcerative Colitis

Reducing Stress as Part of Living With Ulcerative Colitis

Another lifestyle change you may want to make is to learn more ways of managing stress. Although stress doesn't cause ulcerative colitis, it can make your ulcerative colitis symptoms worse. Many events, including family problems or the death of a loved one, can cause obvious stress. However, everyday events like getting stuck in traffic can also stress your body. And although the connection between stress and ulcerative colitis isn't well-understood, learning to deal more effectively with stress may help relieve your symptoms.
Some of the ways you may try to reduce stress include:
  • Biofeedback, which teaches you to use your thoughts to control things like muscle tension and heart rate
  • Regular exercise
  • Yoga
  • Getting regular massages
  • Deep breathing techniques
  • Meditation
  • Setting aside time to do the things you enjoy.

Counseling and Support

Mental health counseling can be helpful for some people. This type of counseling can include learning new techniques on how to handle the everyday stresses of life. Sometimes just talking about these things can help reduce your stress levels.
You may find that talking to other people who have ulcerative colitis can be helpful and reassuring. You can ask your healthcare provider about support groups and other organizations that may have more information for you. Some people also use the Internet to find this information.
Most ulcerative colitis support groups are free, collect voluntary donations, or charge modest membership dues to cover basic expenses.
An ulcerative colitis support group should include:
  • Both newcomers and patients who have had symptoms of ulcerative colitis for longer periods of time. This will provide a balance of perspectives for the group.
  • People with whom the ulcerative colitis patient feels comfortable.
  • Leaders who empathize, gently draw out shy members, keep other members from dominating, and distill discussion into useful information.
  • A history that indicates that the group is stable and is meeting the needs of its members.
Ulcerative colitis support groups are not appropriate for everyone. Some patients with ulcerative colitis find that an ulcerative colitis support group actually adds to their stress rather than relieving it. Also, some support groups may put their own interests before those of the individual patient. Groups that engage in any of the following activities should be avoided:
  • Promising a sure ulcerative colitis cure and quick solutions
  • Conducting meetings that are mainly "gripe" sessions
  • Urging patients to stop prescribed ulcerative colitis treatment
  • Recommending a single solution to the patients' problems
  • Insisting that patients reveal private or sensitive information
  • Demanding allegiance to a cult-like, charismatic leader
  • Charging high fees
  • Requiring patients to purchase products.

Information on Ulcerative Colitis

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