Lifestyle & Diet Tips To Manage Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Ups

April 19, 2023
Lifestyle & Diet Tips To Manage Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Ups

Ulcerative colitis is a type of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that happens as a result of the immune system’s abnormal reactions, causing ulcers and inflammation in the large intestine’s inner lining. In fact, having it increases your risk of developing colon cancer.


While there is no known cure for the disease, several modern treatments are able to reduce certain symptoms and bring about long-term remission. However, there are chances that the disease may return despite long-term remission. This is known as an ulcerative colitis flare-up.


Symptoms such as urgent bowel movements, fatigue, rectal bleeding and pain, stomach cramps and pain, as well as diarrhoea, happen during flare-ups. While such fluctuations may be helpless and frustrating, there are lifestyle and diet changes that can help manage those symptoms, lengthening the time between each occurrence.


1. Skip the dairy aisle

While there is no concrete evidence that proves diet results in ulcerative colitis, neither is there that disproves that diet affects ulcerative colitis. Avoiding certain beverages and food containing dairies, such as ice cream, cheese, yoghurt, and milk, can help to avoid aggravating certain signs, such as stomach pains, flatulence, and diarrhoea symptoms, especially during flare-ups.


2. Stay clear of a high-fibre diet

On normal days, we would recommend having a high-fibre diet for a healthy gut. Foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fresh fruits, are excellent sources of fibre. There is some evidence that consuming more fibre may help to prolong periods of remission. However, it might be best not to consume large amounts of fibre during a UC flare as they may worsen your symptoms. Check with your gastroenterologist or dietician about this.


3. Consume multiple small meals

Rather than having three big meals daily, splitting your meals up into multiple smaller meals can help you feel better during flare-ups.


4. Be smart about what you drink

Drinking plenty of liquids, especially plain water, is your best bet for managing symptoms. The alcohol content in cocktails, wine, and beer will stimulate your large intestine, worsening your diarrhoea symptoms. The same can be said for drinks that contain caffeine, such as coffee, iced tea, and soda. Additionally, avoid drinking carbonated beverages as they are gassy and will increase your flatulence symptoms.


5. Manage your stress level

While it does not result in ulcerative colitis, stress and gut health are connected, affecting your overall physical health, which in turn, worsens any ulcerative colitis-related symptoms and triggers flare-ups more often. Reducing your tension, whether by exercising, meditating, or doing your favorite activity, can help to reduce unnecessary mental tension, keeping you in optimal health.



While you may live with ulcerative colitis, you do not have to live with severe pains and discomfort associated with the disease. Before making any of the lifestyle and diet changes mentioned above, always consult your doctor during your gastroenterology visit to determine how to best move forward with your recovery and treatment plan.


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