Inflammation: Treating Ulcerative Colitis (UC)

Since ulcerative colitis (UC), a condition that causes inflammation in the colon and rectum, is never medically cured, certain lifestyle behaviors can help you manage symptoms and better cope with your condition. In addition to managing stress, paying attention to what you eat can have a big impact on your quality of life.

A notepad with "ulcerative colitis" printed on it and a stethoscope laying next to it.

You should eat a well-balanced, healthy diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, such as a Mediterranean style diet. Avoid preservatives and emulsifiers, such as carrageenan, carboxymethylcellulose, and polysorbate-80.

If you have inflammatory bowel disease and also irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a low-FODMAP diet may be helpful. FODMAP stands for the short-chain carbohydrates known as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Some people who eat high-FODMAP foods have an increased risk of problems like diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, and flatulence. FODMAPs include the following:

  • disaccharides, such as lactose (in milk and other dairy products)
  • monosaccharides, such as fructose (for example, in apples and honey)
  • oligosaccharides, such as fructans (in wheat, onions, and garlic, for example) and galactans (commonly found in beans, lentils, and soybeans)
  • polyols, such as sorbitol and mannitol (in some fruits, vegetables, and artificial sweeteners).

A low-FODMAP diet can help reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea and improve stool consistency in people with IBS who also have well-controlled IBD. Consult with your doctor and a nutritionist about how FODMAP reduction may fit into your dietary plan.

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