When should I call my doctor about my ulcerative colitis?

Call your healthcare provider immediately if you have:

  • Heavy, persistent diarrhea.
  • Blood leaking from your anus with clots of blood in your stool.
  • Constant pain and a high fever.

What is the best diet for ulcerative colitis?

There’s no single diet that works best for ulcerative colitis. If the disease damages the lining of the colon, your body might not absorb enough nutrients from food. Your healthcare provider may recommend supplemental nutrition or vitamins. It’s best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan.

How often do I need a colonoscopy?

Especially when you have symptoms or are just starting or changing medications, your doctor may want to periodically look at the inside of the rectum and colon to make sure the treatments are working and the lining is healing. How often this is needed is different for each person.

Ulcerative colitis also increases your chance of developing colon cancer. To look for early cancer signs, your healthcare provider may have you come in for a colonoscopy (a procedure to check the health of the colon) every one to three years.

How does pediatric ulcerative colitis affect my child’s mental/emotional health?

Like many conditions, ulcerative colitis can have a negative psychological effect, especially on children. They can experience physical, emotional, social and family problems. Because of the medications and/or general stress from the situation, your child may experience:

  • Mood swings.
  • Teasing from classmates.
  • Anger, embarrassment and frustration.
  • Worry about appearance and physical stamina.
  • Vulnerability because their body doesn’t function normally.
  • Poor concentration.
  • Misunderstandings with friends and family.

Children need mutual support from all family members. It’s helpful for the entire family to learn about the disease and try to be empathetic. Seek out a psychiatrist and therapist to help your child manage such challenges of their ulcerative colitis.

Does ulcerative colitis make you immunocompromised?

Ulcerative colitis doesn’t make you immunocompromised. Some of the medicines that treat it may change the way your immune system responds. This change is different for each medication. Some of these changes may increase the risk of certain infections or other issues. A discussion with your health care team before starting a medication is the best way to understand these risks and ways to prevent them.

What should I ask my doctor?

If you have ulcerative colitis, you may want to ask your healthcare provider:

  • How much of my large intestine is affected?
  • What risks or side effects can I expect from the medication?
  • Should I change my diet?
  • Will ulcerative colitis affect my ability to get pregnant?
  • What can I do at home to manage my symptoms?
  • What are my surgical options?

What should I ask my doctor on behalf of my child or teenager?

Ask your healthcare provider the following questions in addition to the ones listed above:

  • What vitamins should my child take?
  • Will my other children have pediatric ulcerative colitis?
  • Is my child at risk for other conditions?
  • Can you recommend a psychiatrist or therapist to help my child with emotional issues related to pediatric ulcerative colitis?
  • Is my child growing at a normal rate?
  • What can I do to help my child cope at school?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

When you have ulcerative colitis, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare team.

Take your medications as prescribed, even when you don’t have symptoms. Skipping medications you’re supposed to take can lead to flareups and make the disease harder to control. Your best shot at managing ulcerative colitis is to follow your treatment plan and talk to your healthcare provider regularly.

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