Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Ulcerative colitis doesn't just affect you physically — it takes an emotional toll as well. If signs and symptoms are severe, your life may revolve around a constant need to run to the toilet. In some cases, you may barely be able to leave the house. When you do, you might worry about an accident, and this anxiety likely makes your symptoms worse.

Even if your symptoms are mild, gas and abdominal pain can make it difficult to be out in public. You may also feel hampered by dietary restrictions or embarrassed by the nature of your disease. All of these factors — isolation, embarrassment and anxiety — can severely alter your life. Sometimes they may lead to depression.

Support groups

One of the best ways to feel more in control is to find out as much as possible about ulcerative colitis. Organizations such as the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America have chapters across the country to provide information and access to support groups. Ask your doctor, nurse or dietitian to locate the chapter nearest you, or contact the organization directly at 888-MY-GUT-PAIN (888-694-8872).

Counseling

Some people find it helpful to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist who's familiar with inflammatory bowel disease and the emotional difficulties it can cause. Ask your doctor for a referral if you think counseling might be helpful for you.

Oct. 10, 2012