12 things you’ll only know if you have ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. It is a chronic condition, meaning that it is ongoing and life-long. It is incredibly hard to live with and can often result in surgery. 

Alongside affecting the bowel, there are many other symptoms that can negatively affect your day to day life. Extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea and abdominal pains are just a few.

It can also be hard to speak out about the disease, as anything to do with the bowel can be quite a taboo subject – meaning it can often be a very lonely illness to live with.

This also means many are unaware of the condition – even those who may be suffering themselves!

Here’s things you’ll only know if you have ulcerative colitis.

1. People will often compare it to Crohn’s disease, even though internally it is completely different.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are completely different forms of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s can affect you anywhere along the digestive tract, whereas UC only tends to affect the colon and/or rectum.

12 things you'll only know if you have ulcerative colitis

2. But it’s also the easiest way to explain what it is, because people are more aware of Crohn’s than they are of UC.

People seem to be more aware of CD than they are of UC, meaning it’s often easier to just describe UC as being ‘a bit like Crohn’s’.

3. Someone has tried to sell you an aloe vera product to miraculously cure you more times than you can remember.

There is no cure for UC. Sure, there are things that may help to keep you in remission, but there is no life long option. But, even though surgeons have concerned this, you will often find the random person trying to sell you a product, attempting to convince you it will ‘cure you’. Absolute rubbish.

12 things you'll only know if you have ulcerative colitis

4. You become accustomed to openly talking about your bowel habits.

You deal with doctors so often to talk about your bowel habits, that the conversation seems to become normal.

5. And forget that perhaps talking about it to people you barely know really isn’t appropriate.

Apparently, discussing your bowel habits over the dinner table or on a first date just aren’t the right things to do.

6. You often rely on a ton of medication alongside supplements to help fight the fatigue that comes with UC. 

Iron, Zinc and B12 supplements are very much needed to keep yourself from falling asleep.

(Picture: samcatchesides/Flickr)
(Picture: samcatchesides/Flickr)

7. Organizing days out are hard because the most important part of the planning is finding the nearest loo. 

Anything over a mile and there’s that plan out of the window.

8. Words like colon and rectum have slowly become less embarrassing to say. 

And you’re used to using them in daily conversation when asked how you’re feeling.

12 things you'll only know if you have ulcerative colitis

9. People will often compare your UC to irritable bowel syndrome. 

It is extremely annoying when people do this. They are completely different things. UC is a lot more serious, much more severe and causes more complications whilst having extreme consequences.

10. ‘Wow! You’ve lost so much weight!’ is not so much a compliment anymore. 

Weight loss is a common symptom of UC. It can get to the point where you look incredibly underweight and unhealthy. It’s not a compliment when you’re losing weight because you’re so ill.

11.The Internet is the best place when you need support. 

Internet support groups are your go to place when you need advice. Sometimes the advice of a doctor or a friend just isn’t good enough. It can be incredibly hard to talk about when they don’t personally understand.

12. And you really learn who your true friends are over time. 

You gain an understanding of who is going to be there in your time of need and who is not. It’s generally based on who is there to support you during a flare and who is only there when you are in remission.