IBD: Ulcerative Colitis

FAQs

Am I going to get cancer because I have (Ulcerative Colitis) IBD? 

People with IBD are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Having regular endoscopies will help identify polyps that could potentially develop into cancer.

Does diet affect Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)?

Diet alone is not effective in treating Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. However, it is important that patients with IBD have a well-balanced diet. Calcium is important to protect bones. Fibre may not be tolerated during flare ups. Certain vitamins (for example, B12) may be required. Selected patients may sometimes be helped by a registered dietician.

How is Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)different than IBS?

Although both illnesses can be seriously debilitating, there are several primary differences between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBD is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling and ulcerations (sores) in the bowel. IBS involves problems with motility (how the bowel moves contents through our intestines) and sensitivity (how the brain interprets sensations in the bowel). Symptoms of IBS may wax and wane and possibly disappear altogether whereas IBD is a chronic condition.

How can I tell if my treatment is working?

For some people, ulcerative colitis symptoms will significantly improve within a short time after starting medication or making lifestyle and dietary changes. For others, finding relief from symptoms is a slow process and it may take longer for a definite improvement to be noticed. It is important for you and your doctor to work together to determine what triggers your symptoms and to find the right treatment to manage your symptoms effectively.

How can I prepare for an appointment with my GI to discuss my ulcerative colitis?

Good communication with your doctor is an important part of effective management of a gastrointestinal disorder like ulcerative colitis. Before your appointment, take the time to keep a symptom journal that can help you and your doctor see patterns in your activities and identify specific triggers for your symptoms.Include the following information in your journal:

  • Write down the symptoms that are bothering you and for how long you have had them.
  • Write down key personal and medical information, including any recent changes or stressful events in your life.
  • Make a list of the triggers (food, stress, activity) that seem to make your symptoms worse.
  • Make a list of medications you are taking, including the conditions you take them for. Also note if any of your medications seem to affect your symptoms.
  • Talk to your family members and find out if any relatives have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or another digestive disorder.

Also, create a list of questions to ask your doctor during your appointment. Specifically, you may want to ask your doctor questions such as:

  • What do you think is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my condition?
  • What diagnostic tests do I need?
  • Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend trying first?
  • If the first treatment doesn’t work, what will we try next?
  • Are there any side effects associated with these treatments?

FAQs

Am I going to get cancer because I have (Ulcerative Colitis) IBD? 

People with IBD are at an increased risk of developing colon cancer. Having regular endoscopies will help identify polyps that could potentially develop into cancer.

Does diet affect Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)?

Diet alone is not effective in treating Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. However, it is important that patients with IBD have a well-balanced diet. Calcium is important to protect bones. Fibre may not be tolerated during flare ups. Certain vitamins (for example, B12) may be required. Selected patients may sometimes be helped by a registered dietician.

How is Ulcerative Colitis (IBD)different than IBS?

Although both illnesses can be seriously debilitating, there are several primary differences between Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). IBD is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling and ulcerations (sores) in the bowel. IBS involves problems with motility (how the bowel moves contents through our intestines) and sensitivity (how the brain interprets sensations in the bowel). Symptoms of IBS may wax and wane and possibly disappear altogether whereas IBD is a chronic condition.

How can I tell if my treatment is working?

For some people, ulcerative colitis symptoms will significantly improve within a short time after starting medication or making lifestyle and dietary changes. For others, finding relief from symptoms is a slow process and it may take longer for a definite improvement to be noticed. It is important for you and your doctor to work together to determine what triggers your symptoms and to find the right treatment to manage your symptoms effectively.

How can I prepare for an appointment with my GI to discuss my ulcerative colitis?

Good communication with your doctor is an important part of effective management of a gastrointestinal disorder like ulcerative colitis. Before your appointment, take the time to keep a symptom journal that can help you and your doctor see patterns in your activities and identify specific triggers for your symptoms.Include the following information in your journal:

  • Write down the symptoms that are bothering you and for how long you have had them.
  • Write down key personal and medical information, including any recent changes or stressful events in your life.
  • Make a list of the triggers (food, stress, activity) that seem to make your symptoms worse.
  • Make a list of medications you are taking, including the conditions you take them for. Also note if any of your medications seem to affect your symptoms.
  • Talk to your family members and find out if any relatives have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or another digestive disorder.

Also, create a list of questions to ask your doctor during your appointment. Specifically, you may want to ask your doctor questions such as:

  • What do you think is causing my symptoms?
  • Are there other possible causes for my condition?
  • What diagnostic tests do I need?
  • Do these tests require any special preparation?
  • What treatment approach do you recommend trying first?
  • If the first treatment doesn’t work, what will we try next?
  • Are there any side effects associated with these treatments?
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