How a Dietitian Can Help With Ulcerative Colitis: Our Approach
Ulcerative colitis can be physically and emotionally draining – fatigue, weight loss, and abdominal pain are no picnic on the beach.
Chronic illness can often be limiting with complex considerations in your day-to-day activities. Always on the lookout for the closest restroom…always afraid to leave your home.
Attending lunch with a friend is something many take for granted, but it could be a painful flare-up on the horizon for those with Ulcerative colitis.
Every case of Ulcerative Colitis is slightly different. Your dietitian should customize your treatment plan to fit your unique symptoms and habits.
At OnPoint Nutrition, we have helped more than 3,000 unique clients who want to manage their chronic illnesses and take back their lives. OnPoint’s approach to Ulcerative Colitis treatment and management is science-based and tailored to each client personally.
We consider diagnosis, diet, routine, and lifestyle to make the best plan for your health journey.
Here is the full rundown of how an online dietitian at OnPoint Nutrition can work with you to manage your Ulcerative Colitis.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Though the root cause is unknown, Ulcerative Colitis is a common disease that affects the digestive tract by causing inflammation and sores in the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
As you can imagine, Ulcerative Colitis is an excruciating condition for many, and the hallmark of this disease is abdominal discomfort, which sometimes becomes a life-threatening condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, depending on the extent of the inflammation and its location, the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis can change.
Symptoms are often developed over time rather than coming on all at once.
Some warning signs and symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Rectal bleeding — passing a small amount of blood with stool
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain
- Urgency to defecate
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Weight loss
- In children, failure to grow (height and weight)
While the range of individuals that Ulcerative Colitis affects is extensive, the disease itself only presents in a few forms.
There are four types of Ulcerative Colitis:
- Ulcerative proctitis
- Left-sided colitis
Often the symptoms of these variations are the same, so that the diagnosis will depend on a physician’s expertise and medical examination.
How Can An Online Dietitian Help With Ulcerative Colitis?
A qualified nutrition coach will consider the whole of your situation so that you can effectively manage your ulcerative colitis and live a happier, healthier life.
Once you have been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, you have a choice: Do I roll with the punches? Or do I take matters into my own hands and retake control of my life?
At OnPoint Nutrition, we use a systematic approach to excellent nutrition counseling.
We believe that diet and lifestyle significantly impact health and wellness and our team of qualified professionals is ready to help you hit the road on your health journey.
Now let’s look at how we work with our Ulcerative Colitis clients.
Step 1: Assessment
As previously mentioned, Ulcerative Colitis is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease of the large intestine and rectum.
This chronic condition has two stages: active flare and remission.
The goal is to achieve and maintain remission.
If you are seeking the help of a dietitian to manage your Ulcerative Colitis, you are likely experiencing regular flare-ups, and remissions are short-lived.
Perhaps you are newly diagnosed and want to nip it in the bud and suffer as little as possible.
Research suggests lifestyle changes help reach this goal. To determine the best treatment approach, we must first decide which phase your chronic illness is in and what dietary changes you should make.
Your dietitian will thoroughly assess your condition, lifestyle, and usual diet so that they can work with you in the most productive way possible.
Your dietitian will recommend a diet that will align with your current phase and monitor your progress.
Kaitlyn Willwerth, MS, RD, CLT from OnPoint Nutrition, has worked with hundreds of clients diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis looking to take back their lives.
She has the following basic recommendations for dietary guidelines in each stage of Ulcerative Colitis:
Ulcerative Colitis Remission Diet
The Ulcerative Colitis Remission diet works to prevent a UC flare. During remission, inflammation is controlled, and symptoms resolve. Eating a nutrient-rich diet is an essential strategy for maintaining remission.
The Basics of an Ulcerative Colitis Remission Diet
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Incorporate fiber-rich foods as tolerated
- Focus on fruits and vegetables
- Stay hydrated
Ulcerative Colitis Flare Diet
During an active flare, symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, and urgent and painful bowel movements are common. Implementing a low-fiber, low-residue diet until symptoms improve allows the gut to heal.
- Low fiber fruits
- Non-cruciferous vegetables
- Refined grains
- Lean proteins
After a flare, transitioning back to a UC Remission diet helps ensure you get all the nutrients you need.
Step 2: Program Personalization
You and your dietitian will work together to determine your best treatment plan.
At OnPoint Nutrition, go over details like:
- Activity Level
- Other conditions
- Stress Level/Stressors
Once we determine how to approach your specific need in manageable steps, we begin feeding you some relevant program materials and resources to help you reach your goals.
This process will include personalized materials that meet your needs and help you reach your goals for your specific version of Ulcerative Colitis.
Regarding Ulcerative Colitis, our team hones in on diet and lifestyle improvements to help manage your condition long-term and prevent future flares.
Kaitlyn Willwerth, MS, RD, CLT, goes into the basics of how you can use a well-balanced diet and healthy lifestyle choices to manage Ulcerative Colitis:
- A Well-Balanced Diet: Incorporating a wide variety of foods helps ensure you get all the nutrients you need to optimize your health, including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats to help you reach your goals.
- Fiber-Rich Foods: Your nutritionist or dietitian will calculate your energy and macronutrient needs to determine your optimal food intake. Together you will focus on the quality of your food to ensure that the calories and macronutrients you eat are high in fiber to support healthy bowel function.
- Hydration: Fiber absorbs water and increases the bulk of your stool, allowing it to pass through the colon more efficiently. Replacing the water used in the colon is essential to maintain proper hydration. Your dietitian or nutritionist will help you determine how much water you should consume.
- Manage Stress: Experts believe stress worsens UC symptoms and contributes to flares. Implementing strategies to reduce stress will be another critical piece of improving your overall lifestyle.
Each case of Ulcerative Colitis is slightly different, just as every individual suffers from this debilitating illness.
With the help of a personal online dietitian, like our qualified team at OnPoint Nutrition, you can make a plan that is tailored to your needs and will take you to your goals.
Step 3: Monitor outcomes
When it comes to any chronic illness, consistency and sustainability are the keys to achieving results that last.
A 30-day diet might bring you to a place where you are feeling great.
Unfortunately, your health goals will come crashing down when you go back to the unhealthy habits that caused your flare-ups in the first place.
The goal of a great dietitian is to avoid this!
Throughout your program, your dietitian will monitor your progress and ensure that your program plan serves you well.
Kaitlyn Willwerth, MS, RD, CLT, drives home the importance of sustainability for chronic illness:
“We are always looking for changes in symptoms and opportunities to customize your experience further to fit your lifestyle. This information will help us to determine the best sustainable plan to provide you with long-term symptom relief, complication prevention, and improved quality of life!”
Taking the Next Step
NO ONE wants to suffer through the motions of a chronic illness like Ulcerative Colitis.
Ultimately, it is in your hands if you choose to participate actively in your health journey.
There is a better life to live with the help of a qualified professional, like the online dietitians at OnPoint Nutrition.
After serving thousands of people suffering chronic illness, breaking free from their disease, and finally achieving their goals, our team can confidently say–what are you waiting for?
You can retake charge of your life.
Let’s get you one step closer to the freedom of a normal life.