General tips

As well as taking medication for your ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease (inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)) you also need to pay special attention to what you eat, your fitness as well as other medication you take (even if they seem to have nothing to do with your IBD).

Here are some general tips to manage your IBD:

  • Follow the treatment plan provided by your doctor: Take the medicine prescribed for you by the doctor. Do not stop just because you feel well - discuss with your doctor if and when you can discontinue your medication
  • If you suspect a flare-up: start treatment or go to the doctor as soon as you notice symptoms. Always keep a small stock of your medicine so that you can start treatment immediately
  • Stomach infections can trigger a relapse in people with ulcerative colitis - pay attention to hygiene when you prepare food, and avoid situations in which you could be exposed to stomach infections
  • Avoid foodstuffs or situations that you know from experience can trigger a relapse and stick to the diet you have agreed with your specialist
  • As far as possible do not take non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as indomethacin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. In some people, these medicines can trigger a flare-up of their intestinal disease, if you need painkillers, you can take paracetamol
  • Stop smoking, especially if you have Crohn's disease - the risk for relapse and surgery is twice as high in smokers as non-smokers
  • Be careful when using anti-diarrhoea remedies. General anti-diarrhoea remedies such as loperamide or codeine may be good treatment for some IBD patients, but actually be dangerous for others. Always check with your doctor before you take a medicine like this
  • Haemorrhoids – although people without IBD can be easily treated for haemorrhoids in an Outpatient Clinic, IBD patients must never undergo even a minor operation in the rectum without careful assessment by their specialist first

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