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Ulcerative Colitis (cont.)

Ulcerative Colitis Other Therapy

Lifestyle modification

If the patient has been on steroids for a long time, the person may have some added risk because this medication reduces the bone mass. High-impact exercise such as aerobics or running may put too much stress on the fragile bones causing stress fractures or broken bones. Lower-impact exercises may be more appropriate, such as cycling or swimming. A bone density screening arranged through a doctor can look at bone mass and assess if the patient is at risk. Strength training (resistance activity) with moderate weights or machines, even stretch bands, may help build bone density.

Traveling with ulcerative colitis can be a challenge if the patient feels the need to use the bathroom frequently. Sometimes you simply "can't wait," so experts have some prudent suggestions:

  • Become aware of public toilets where you are traveling and plan your day's activities so you have a comfort level (and another adult to watch the children) in being close to a toilet facility.
  • Carry a card that says I can't wait and explains that you have a medical condition in which you urgently need to use the bathroom. If you encounter a long line and are desperate, hand the card to the first person in line.
  • Look for familiar and usually clean roadside toilet facilities such as at fast-food places.
  • Airplane travel presents its own challenges. If you're not traveling first class, know that the toilet facilities up front are usually not as crowded as those in coach class. Explain your concerns to the flight attendants when you board: "I probably won't have to use the facilities up front, but in case I do, I have a medical condition, and I can't wait in line."
  • If trip anxiety makes you even more anxious about accidents, do wear an adult diaper. Women may opt for a maxipad or panty shield. Pack and bring an extra change of underwear and pants in your carry-on and keep them with you in a day-pack while sightseeing.
  • Some foods may be unfamiliar and their effects uncertain. Know what foods you are eating. Buy familiar items at local grocery stores and carry them with you on tours if you're just not sure you want to tackle the native cuisine or worry that it may trigger your condition.

More than 20% of patients will try alternative medicines to help treat ulcerative colitis. There is no evidence, as yet, that probiotics, fish oil, spices, and acupuncture are beneficial.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2014
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