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Ulcerative colitis - discharge

Inflammatory bowel disease - discharge; Ulcerative proctitis - discharge; Colitis - discharge

You were in the hospital to treat ulcerative colitis. This is a swelling (inflammation) of the inner lining of your colon and rectum (also called your large intestine). This article tells you how to take care of yourself when you return home.

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Inflammatory bowel disease

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When You're in the Hospital

You were in the hospital because you have ulcerative colitis. This is a swelling of the inner lining of your colon and rectum (also called your large intestine). It damages the lining, causing it to bleed or ooze mucus or pus.

You probably received fluids through an intravenous (IV) tube in your vein. You may have received a blood transfusion, nutrition through a feeding tube or IV, and medicines to help stop diarrhea. You may have been given medicines to reduce swelling, prevent or fight infection, or help your immune system.

You may have undergone a colonoscopy. You also may have had surgery. If so, you may have had either an ileostomy or colon resection (colectomy).

What to Expect at Home

Most people will have long breaks between flare-ups of their ulcerative colitis if they take their prescribed medicines.

Self-care

When you first go home, you will need to drink only liquids or eat different foods from what you normally eat. Ask your health care provider when you can start your regular diet. You should eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. It is important that you get enough calories, protein, and nutrients from a variety of food groups.

Certain foods and drinks can make your symptoms worse. These foods may cause problems for you all the time or only during a flare-up. Avoid foods that make your symptoms worse.

Eat smaller meals, and eat more often. Drink plenty of liquids.

Ask your provider about extra vitamins and minerals you may need, including:

Talk with a dietitian, especially if you lose weight or your diet becomes very limited.

Stress

You may feel worried about having a bowel accident, embarrassed, or even feel sad or depressed. Other stressful events in your life, such as moving, job loss, or the loss of a loved one, can cause problems with your digestion.

These tips may help you manage your ulcerative colitis:

Drug Treatments

Your provider may give you some medicines to help relieve your symptoms. Based on how severe your ulcerative colitis is and how you respond to treatment, you may need to take one or more of these medicines:

There are many types of drugs your provider may use to prevent or treat attacks of your ulcerative colitis.

Follow-up

Your ongoing care will be based on your needs. Your provider will tell you when to return for an exam of the inside of your rectum and colon through a flexible tube (sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy).

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you have:

Related Information

Ulcerative colitis
Colon cancer screening
Small bowel resection
Black or tarry stools
Ileostomy
Total abdominal colectomy
Total proctocolectomy and ileal-anal pouch
Ileostomy and your child
Ileostomy and your diet
Ileostomy - caring for your stoma
Ileostomy - discharge
Living with your ileostomy
Enteral nutrition - child - managing problems
Gastrostomy feeding tube - bolus
Jejunostomy feeding tube
Low-fiber diet
Diarrhea - what to ask your health care provider - adult
Diarrhea - what to ask your doctor - child

References

Atallah CI, Efron JE, Fang SH. The management of chronic ulcerative colitis. In: Cameron JL, Cameron AM, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:154-161.

Dassopoulos T, Sultan S, Falck-Ytter YT, Inadomi JM, Hanauer SB. American Gastroenterological Association Institute technical review on the use of thiopurines, methotrexate, and anti-tnf-a biologic drugs for the induction and maintenance of remission in inflammatory Crohn's disease. Gastroenterology. 2013;145(6):1464-1478. PMID: 24267475 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24267475.

Kornbluth A, Sachar DB; Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. Ulcerative colitis practice guidelines in adults: American College Of Gastroenterology, Practice Parameters Committee. Am J Gastroenterol. 2010;105(3):501-523. PMID: 20068560 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20068560.

Osterman MT, Lichtenstein GR. Ulcerative colitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 116.

Swaroop PP. Inflammatory bowel disease: Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2019. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:224-230.

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Review Date: 11/1/2018  

Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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