If you’re reading this article, then you’ve most probably endured at least one flare-up since your diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. Most of us can relate to the moment where our UC decides to rear its ugly, little head – reminding us not to get too comfortable with a normal life. That moment really sucks, because when we think we’re doing everything that we possibly can to keep it into remission, something disturbs our gut and BOOM, inflammation!
So what is a UC flare up?
A flare-up is when Ulcerative Colitis attacks the lining of the digestive tract and causes sores and swelling.
What the hell causes a flare up?
It’s very hard to specifically determine what exactly can cause a flare-up because the results are tailored to the individual. That is why professionals are spending countless time and money in developing new technology to help determine answers! In the meantime, the internet discusses various different things that should consider during a flare-up:
Stress levels – Stress prepares your body for a high-risk situation or a perceived threat. When your body is stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol making your blood pressure and heart rate increase. Finally, your body starts producing adrenaline, which inevitably creates more energy. For the average guy, this is a great time! But for our UC buddies, this stimulates the immune system causing inflammation.
Medication mishaps – This includes taking the wrong medication, or the wrong dose.
Smoking – Smoking is a no brainer. When smokers find out that they have Ulcerative Colitis, they immediately stop smoking, which can cause a flare-up. However, people who have UC should definitely not smoke.
Antibiotics –Antibiotics really dictate and control gut flora. While they might be treating your infection head on, they’re also at risk of giving you diarrhea, so go easy on the pills.
Certain food groups – We believe in an anti-inflammatory approach to any digestive disorder. If you’re not already on a diet plan, try to skip out on dairy, gluten, grains, corn and processed foods. All of which encompass inflammatory components that aggravate the digestive tract even more!
Now we’ve discussed problems, let’s chat about solutions by taking control of our bodies again!
It’s all about focussing on an integrative, anti-inflammatory approach to an angry and inflamed gut.
First things first, you need to see your doctor so that he can prescribe you with medication that will target the inflammation head on.
An insiders tip: Suppositories target inflammation with the most direct force. They’re not a fun time, but they work!
Secondly, and most importantly you need to cancel your schedule! This could be the most challenging and painful, but your body needs to heal.
Thirdly, if you don’t want to take the medicated route, or want an alternative then don’t be afraid of trialing home remedies. Consider integrating the following:
CBD – Also known as Cannabidiol is rich with anti-inflammatory components. UC can stem from a weak immune system or imbalanced digestive tract. CBD helps strengthen your immune system. It also helps relieve symptoms associated with digestive disorders, like nausea, loss of appetite and abdominal pain.
Peppermint Tea – Peppermint tea is known to have a soothing, calming effect on the tummy rumbles and upset, bloated feels. Introduce peppermint tea in the mornings, evenings and even after meals to help alleviate symptoms of digestion problems.
Bone Broth – For those who are experiencing acute flare-ups, bone broth is a life saver (there are vegan options too). It is rich in nutrients, acts as a meal and yet, doesn’t aggravate the digestive tract. It’s best to make it yourself though, as other additives can be put into it that your tummy might not agree with. So stick with straight up bones! Or vegetables that are kind to the gut (avoid onion).
Soft cooked vegetables and meat – Your stomach is attempting to heal itself from inflammation, the last thing it needs is to try and digest, are solid food groups. We suggest mashed up sweet potato, it is a part of the anti-inflammatory healing food group. Or stewed meats.
Also, eat smaller meals throughout the day to avoid stressing your digestive tract out from having to process large masses.
Meditate – As mentioned earlier, keep those stress levels down. Create therapeutic hobbies for yourself, like cooking, reading, walking, painting, etc. Channel your ‘zen’ zone, so that you can be present and relaxed for at least 30 minutes of the day.
It’s most important to remain optimistic during this time, refrain from the negative conversation, people and anything else that influences your brain to enter the dark side! Unfortunately, UC can be sensitive to this, and we want to feed our bodies with the love and empowerment that it deserves, so that it can heal.