When someone in the family has ulcerative colitis (UC), it can affect the entire family and their friends. Being a caregiver means helping someone manage both the physical symptoms of UC and the negative emotions the disease may bring. The challenges one may face over a long time may be complex and diverse.
Here's what one can do to help their loved one manage and overcome UC better.
One can help prevent disease flare-ups by looking out for potential triggers. For example, help them avoid food items such as:
One of the best ways somebody can manage their UC is by taking prescribed medications properly. As a caregiver, one can help them adhere to their treatment regimen by reminding them to take their medicines
It's never personal when a patient suffering from UC cancels a plan, caregivers must be supportive
Being present at appointments or just being there for moral support can help ease a lot of stress for the loved one
A simple text saying, "Hey, I am there for you", may be meaningful
It's essential to listen to them so they can share their thoughts/feelings
Helping is one of the best ways to support the patient. Additional worry about house-hold chores may make them feel worked up
Try to help them relax by understanding their situation
In case of going out, attending a dinner, or just cooking, think about their food restrictions and try to accommodate
Sometimes it's simply best to ask, "What can I do for you?" the answer might be as simple as "Give me a hug" or "Nothing right now"
Remember, support means the world for people with UC.
It's possible to get confused about what to ask the doctor while going for an appointment.
Here are some questions that one may ask a doctor, especially during the first appointment.
Passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than What is normal for the individual)
Visual check of the internal organs using a tube-shaped camera scope
Located or happening outside the intestines
Unusual channel that forms between the intestines, or between the intestine and another close structure like the bladder, vagina, skin or others
Gastrointestinal (GI, or digestive) tract
An organ system in the body which jointly refers to the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, and anus
The body's natural defence system that fights against foreign materials
Immune response to tissue injury that causes redness, swelling, and pain
Also called the bowel, intestine is a long, tube-like organ in the belly that finishes the process of digestion. It consists of the small and large intestines
An unfamiliar narrowing of the intestine caused by swelling or scar tissue
The lowermost portion of the large intestine that attaches to the anus
Surgical removal of an unhealthy part of the intestine
Children with UC can have several unique symptoms apart from the usual symptoms related to the swelling and immune response in the body. Such symptoms may range from being mild to severe.
Anemia due to blood loss
Blood in watery stools
Unexplained weight loss
Malnutrition, due to poor absorption of nutrients
There are multiple ways parents can help their children cope with UC and live healthy and happy lives. Here are a few points:
Caring for self is the most important and one of the often-forgotten things for a caregiver. Middle-aged caregivers may be at an increased risk of developing depression and experience a likely decline in the quality of life, as they may be simultaneously juggling other responsibilities.
Here are some problems caregivers may experience:
Poor eating habits
Lack of exercise
Failure to make medical appointments or postponing them
Some self-care tips are mentioned below: