Living with Ulcerative Colitis: Coping Strategies and Supportive Care

Struggling to manage your flare-ups of ulcerative colitis? If yes, this article will help you. Ulcerative colitis is a long-term condition when the colon and rectum become inflamed. There’s no cure for UC, however, medications can help you manage its symptoms and flare-ups. Besides medications, certain coping strategies also help to manage the symptoms and flare-ups. Learn the common coping strategies for ulcerative colitis in this article to manage your condition. But if you’re experiencing chronic constipation or constipation along with other bowel changes, you should visit your healthcare professional for treatment. You can contact us by visiting our clinic or visiting our website at


Coping strategies for ulcerative colitis

Some coping strategies for ulcerative colitis can reduce flare-ups and help you manage your symptoms well. These include:

  1. Keep a food journal:

Keeping a food journal allows you to identify what you eat or drink that could trigger flare-ups. For example, you may notice a pattern in which eating a particular food can trigger flare-ups. If that is the case with you, removing that food from a diet for a few days helps you understand if your symptoms improve or not.

According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, some common foods that trigger UC include:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Raw, unpeeled, and unseeded fruits and vegetables
  • Cruciferous vegetables
  • Lactose
  • Gluten
  • Spicy, fried, or highly processed foods
  • Added sugars
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated drinks, such as coffee.

You may also find that some foods you can tolerate, while others make your symptoms worse. You can test those foods by removing them or slowly reintroducing them back into your diet. If you experience flare-ups again, then you should eliminate these foods from the diet altogether.

However, you should not eliminate entire food groups (such as dairy products) without speaking to your care team because doing this may reduce your intake of certain vitamins and minerals which increase the risk of complications like osteoporosis and anemia. So, if you want to introduce a new food, it’s best to add only 1 type of food a day to spot foods that cause problems. You can also look for health-promoting diets that appear to help reduce the risk of developing the disease and support your gut microbiome.

  1. Limit or say no to fiber intake:

High-fibrous foods are good sources of nutrition however, when you have UC, these foods may make your symptoms worse. That’s why you should eat a low-fiber diet to relieve your symptoms. Fiber leads to bowel regularity, health, and consistency, however, too much fiber is hard to digest which worsens your UC flare-ups. During a flare-up, stick to foods that have no more than 2 grams of fiber per serving. You can include low-fiber foods like:

  • Fish
  • Refined carbohydrates like white rice, white pasta, and white bread.
  • Lean proteins
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Butter
  • Juice with no pulp

Instead of eating raw vegetables, eat steamed, baked, or roasted veggies to lower the amount of fiber, and eat a low-fiber diet during flare-ups for a short period. During remission, eating fiber may be healthy for your gut health. Research also suggests that low-fiber diets are linked with UC development. That’s why you should not completely eliminate the food group that contains fiber.

  1. Eat small meals:

Eat smaller but more frequent meals which may help you improve symptoms that occur after eating 3 large meals daily. A 2021 review recommended that when eating smaller meals, choose nutrient-dense items that provide higher energy. You can eat five or six small meals a day. Just make sure they are small, healthy, balanced meals, rather than snacks without thinking throughout the day.

  1. Stay physically active:

A 2023 review shows that low to moderate exercise may provide several health benefits for people with UC. It may include lowering inflammation along with improving:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Life Quality
  • Gut microbiome
  • Sleep
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression linked with UC

Recent research also suggests that high-intensity exercise may be beneficial. For the best health benefits, you should make exercise a part of your routine. For example, a 2019 review suggests that the anti-inflammatory effect of exercise depends on the FITT principle, which includes:

  • Frequency: Aim to exercise at least 3 to 5 times per week.
  • Intensity: Choose moderate-intensity exercise that increases your energy expenditure.
  • Time: Exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Type: Workout including a mixture of endurance and resistance exercises to use all big muscle groups.

Some low to moderate-intensity exercises for UC are swimming, biking, yoga, and walking.

  1. Manage your stress:

While stress can’t cause ulcerative colitis, it may trigger flare-ups and worsen your symptoms. This may happen because stress hormones affect your digestive tract, which may cause gastrointestinal inflammation, prevent stomach emptying, and accelerate colon movement. That’s why you should manage your stress to lower your body’s inflammatory response and help you overcome a flare-up sooner. Here are several ways you can use to relieve stress include:

  • Journaling
  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Exercise such as yoga
  • Learning to say no when you feel overwhelmed
  • Getting quality sleep
  • Eating a well-balanced diet
  • Stay hydrated
  • Limit or eliminate alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and carbonated drinks from your diet.

If these ways are not able to relieve stress, then you should talk with your doctor to get proper counseling or treatment to manage your stress.

  1. Fertility:

Becoming pregnant for a woman with UC is not difficult. However, infertility can be a complication of surgery carried out to create an ileoanal pouch. To lower the risk, the surgeon needs to divert the small intestine through an opening in your abdomen.

  1. Emotional impact:

Long-term UC can have a significant emotional impact. In some cases, anxiety and stress caused by ulcerative colitis can lead to depression. If you experience signs of depression like feeling down, and hopeless and no longer feeling pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, then you should visit a doctor for proper medical support. You can also talk with others who are affected by UC, either face-to-face or online by joining support groups.


Living with ulcerative colitis can be difficult, however, proper treatment and adding these coping strategies to your routine allow you to relieve your symptoms and prevent flare-ups. In case, your symptoms and flare-ups don’t get better then you should visit your doctor for medication adjustment or surgery to treat UC.


If you need help with UC, visit our gastroenterology clinic in Brooklyn to get professional medical treatment. Call us to book your appointment now!! You can schedule an appointment with Doral Health and Wellness Gastroenterology Center’s best gastro doctors in Brooklyn. If you are looking for treatments, you can also talk to our specialists and inquire with them. To schedule an appointment, please visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11212 or call 1-347-384-5690.