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Myths and Facts About Ulcerative Colitis

Call our office in Annapolis, Maryland, or use the online tool to make your appointment today. 

Ulcerative colitis affects about 1 million people in the United States. This form of inflammatory bowel disease affects your colon, causing inflammation and subsequent irritation and digestive distress. 

Symptoms usually develop over time and can progress to a point where they’re debilitating with the possibility of life-threatening complications. The board-certified gastroenterology team at Digestive Disorders Associates can’t cure your ulcerative colitis -- no one can -- but we can help greatly reduce the symptoms of the disease.

If you’re newly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or have been living with it for a while, understanding some of the myths and facts associated with your condition can help you achieve remission. 

MYTH: You can cure ulcerative colitis with diet

FACT: There is no known cure for ulcerative colitis, not even diet. Just like your diet isn’t the reason you developed ulcerative colitis, changing it isn’t a magic bullet to reverse it.

That being said, what you eat can affect your ulcerative colitis symptoms. At Digestive Disorders Associates, we are familiar with the condition and can help you find a diet that works best for you. Our team works with you to identify trigger foods and may offer recommendations to eat small meals, drink plenty of liquids, and limit dairy products. 

MYTH: All inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are alike

FACT: Ulcerative colitis falls under a category of diseases known as IBDs, but has its own distinct symptoms and effects on the body. 

Ulcerative colitis is not the same as Crohn’s disease, another IBD. While Crohn’s disease can negatively affect any portion of the digestive tract, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the large intestine. This means you may have unique symptoms, like bloody stool, that don’t appear with other forms of IBD. 

MYTH: Ulcerative colitis is a mild form of IBD

FACT: Everyone’s experience with ulcerative colitis is unique. While ulcerative colitis can be quite manageable in some people, others have symptoms that are more severe than those that occur with Crohn’s disease. Some people with ulcerative colitis experience intense inflammation of the colon that can cause perforation and requires surgery. 

MYTH: Surgery is inevitable if you have ulcerative colitis

FACT: People with mild forms of colitis can control their symptoms with medication and usually don’t need surgery. 

Surgery is performed in more severe cases and involves removing the colon and the lining of your rectum. In rare cases, patients need to wear an ostomy bag to remove body waste. 

MYTH: Control your stress, and you’ll control ulcerative colitis

FACT: Stress does not cause ulcerative colitis, and reducing it is not a proven cure. But stress can make your ulcerative colitis symptoms worse. 

Stress can contribute to inflammation, so you may notice if you’re facing a work deadline or a family crisis, your ulcerative colitis symptoms flare. 

We can help by recommending stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, exercise, journaling, or massage. 

These are only some of the myths surrounding ulcerative colitis. If you have questions, hear something, or read something that makes you question your condition or treatment, contact us at Digestive Disorders Associates. We’ll give you the best education and treatment plan based on your particular diagnosis and symptoms. 

Call our office in Annapolis, Maryland, or use the online tool to make your appointment today. 

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