Constipation in Ulcerative Colitis

The main thing question on my lips this week?

What is worse diarrhoea or constipation?

After months of constant diarrhoea and never having issues going to the bathroom, I am now surprised that I am actually having the complete opposite problem. Prior to ‘officially’ being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis I started to switch to a low fibre diet, not massively but I was making some conscious decisions like reducing my fruit intake (as this is known to aggravate my stomach, I also stopped eating ‘gassy’ vegetables like broccoli), so I wonder if this has something to do with it? And whether taking the steroids and asacol are also contributing to this? After a little bit of googling about the side effects of these tablets nothing major was coming up – but again I found some incredibly helpful information from Crohns and Colitis UK a fact sheet on diarrhoea and constipation. So it is in fact completely normal in Inflammatory Bowel Disease sufferers to go from one extreme to the next – this started to relax me and ease the panic I was having.

I now seem to have this issue under some sort of control, and I’m not as backed up and feeling bleugh in general. So here are my top tips to help battle constipation:

  1. Drink water, and I mean lots and lots – I am very bad at drinking water and staying hydrated. So I now ensure I drink at least 1 litre a day (recommended is 1.6 for women, but add a few cups of tea in there and well I’m nearly there!)
  2. I reintroduced ‘low fibre’ fruits such as bananas and plums (I am lucky we have a fruit basket delivered to the office once a week at work so I store a couple of bananas and plums at my desk for the week as my 11 o clock snack)
  3. I also upped my low fibre vegetable game – this includes pureed/cooked spinach, asparagus tips, carrots and potatoes – all sound like good ingredients for a soup? Check out my Vegetable Soup recipe containing some of these delicious veggies.
  4. Like I’ve said before, I’m not a gym bunny, but I had heard exercise can help move things along inside you, so on my daily commute I have started power walking to the tube and to the office – sure enough things started moving normally not long after that! To really know I’ve done the power walking you do break a little bit of a sweat (depending on the weather) but I make sure I’ve got perfume and deodorant at my desk so when I get in I can freshen up.
  5. Getting the correct position on the toilet. I know this might be an odd one, but over the last few years there has been a lot of media attention over the way you sit on the toilet when you go for a poo. There are even special things called ‘The Squatty Potty’ although I haven’t invested in one yet, I do think they are a good idea – but to be honest? My bathroom bin does the same thing more or less. So I just pop my feet up on that and sit in the correct position (see info sheet below) and relax.
  6. Lastly – don’t pressurise yourself to go to the toilet, I was spending hours just sat there, but in the end I moved away from the toilet and just relaxed and stopped overthinking it.

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