The most effective means of controlling ulcerative colitis pain is usually a balanced combination of medication, proper diet, and stress reduction techniques. Doctors often suggest over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, for mild discomfort. Prescription corticosteroids are sometimes administered to reduce inflammation of the rectum and large intestine. To improve symptoms and help prevent acute flare-ups, you should eat several small meals a day, and consume foods that are easily digestible. Drinking plenty of water is also important to maintain proper hydration, which can also help make bowel movements less painful.
Many people who suffer from this condition find that symptoms are worse during periods of stress. Work-related anxiety, or even the tribulations of the disease itself, can be enough to cause the emotional adrenaline response that triggers hormones, negatively effect the immune system, and cause an episode. Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or cognitive therapy, may help reduce the occurrence of a flare-up, and ease ulcerative colitis pain.
Avoiding the foods that trigger your symptoms may help prevent the inflammation and subsequent discomfort. It is a good idea to keep a food diary that details your nutritional intake each day, along with a chronicle of the symptoms you experience. This is often helpful to identify the triggers that increase ulcerative colitis pain. For example, if the pain worsens every time you consume dairy products, you can assume them to be a contributing factor and exclude dairy from your diet to see if that helps.
Generally, high fiber or fatty foods can increase the severity of attacks. Other common foods believed to create painful symptoms include raw vegetables, bran, popcorn, spicy foods, refined sugar, and seeds. Alcohol and caffeine may also contribute to ulcerative colitis pain. You should avoid these foods, especially if you notice elevated pain levels after consuming them.
Many times, drugs are recommended to ease discomfort and even alleviate common symptoms, like diarrhea or constipation. Any time a patient with ulcerative colitis pain takes medication, it should be done with the advice of a treating physician to avoid potential complications. While certain over-the-counter pain relievers are advised for mild irritation, opioid medications are occasionally prescribed for moderate pain. In some cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, are used to reduce swelling. There are conflicting reports about the safety of taking NSAIDS with conditions involving the bowel, however, so a doctor should advise you, based on your particular situation.