Balancing colitis (inflammation of the colon) and other stomach problems with your everyday life is never an easy task. Between the nausea, the stomach aches, and the horrible cramps, sometimes your symptoms can be totally debilitating, keeping your from work or fun with your friends. Besides working with your doctor, there are plenty of other lifestyle changes you can make that can help with balancing colitis. Keep these seven tips in mind next time you’re not feeling your best.
1. Eat Whole Foods
One of the most successful ways for balancing colitis is reexamining your diet. Although most medical professionals will say that diet doesn’t impact colitis symptoms, I doubt that living off cheeseburgers, pizza, and ice cream is going to improve your symptoms! You are what you eat—so strive to eat a diet that’s as natural as possible. Opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats, and whole grains instead of processed foods that are loaded with preservatives and other chemicals.
2. Figure out Your Food Triggers
Even when eating a diet with few processed foods, you might notice that you still have problems. Sometimes food allergies contribute to a lot of colitis flare ups, so knowing what foods trigger an ulcer could be very helpful. Some of the most common are wheat, dairy, red meat, soy products, caffeine, refined sugar, bananas, shellfish, chocolate, and processed salad dressings to name a few. Eliminating foods that seem to make your symptoms worse is definitely a step in the right direction.
3. Drink Ginger Tea
For thousands of years, ginger has been use in holistic medicine as an aid to digestion and to calm upset stomachs. It can certainly aid with colitis symptoms, helping mitigate awful symptoms like nausea and vomiting. There are a ton of natural and organic ginger teas you can buy at your local grocery store. You can even make your own by slicing some fresh ginger and pouring boiling water over it for a super simple ginger tea.
4. Use Warm or Cold Compresses
When a stomachache strikes, sometimes a warm or cold compress can significantly help. Stock your freezer up with frozen bags of vegetables like peas and corn that can make great cold packs. A heating pad is also a good investment. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether you use heat or cold—use whatever alleviates your symptoms and makes you feel better!
5. Learn to Say ‘No’
Are you the kind of person who shows up first to the office and leaves last? Are you constantly striving to not just achieve, but overachieve? Stress can certainly contribute to colitis flare ups. Learning to periodically say no to extra tasks or assignments at work can definitely lower your stress levels and prevent you from having a flare up. This also applies to events and tasks outside of the office. Don’t feel pressured to always go out every single time your friends invite you, especially when you don’t feel good. Learn to decline invitations from time to time and instead have some you time!
6. Do Yoga or Meditate
Yoga and meditation are two great techniques that can also help with colitis symptoms. Meditating can decrease your stress levels, while many of the postures and stretches in yoga can improve your flexibility. Incorporate both into your daily routine as a way to calm down at the end of the day and keep your colitis symptoms in check.
7. Get Plenty of Rest
Skimping on sleep can definitely cause your colitis symptoms to flare up. Lack of sleep can contribute to increased cortisol levels, a hormone that is partially responsible for inflammation in all parts of the body. Aim to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night to keep your colitis symptoms in check.
Managing your colitis symptoms and treatment is certainly something you need to talk about with your doctor or health care professional. But in addition to medical treatment, there are plenty of small changes you can make to ensure better management of your colitis symptoms. What do you do when a colitis flare up strikes?