Living with ulcerative colitis (UC) isn’t easy. A quick trip to the store or an afternoon outing can quickly turn into an ordeal. But making some lifestyle changes in addition to treatment can help.

Here are 10 life hacks to try alongside your current treatment plan.

This nutrient-packed liquid, which is made by roasting animal bones and simmering them with veggies, can boost your immune system and soothe stomach issues. You can make a big batch and freeze the leftovers for a quick energy boost.

Spicy foods can cause more discomfort in your colon during a flare-up. Therefore, bland foods may be better when you’re having a flare.

It’s a good idea to avoid the following types of foods, which may be harder to digest and can worsen a flare-up:

  • high fiber foods such as broccoli and beans
  • dairy
  • greasy foods such as bacon and french fries
  • carbonated beverages
  • artificial sweeteners, sugar, and sugary desserts
  • spicy foods
  • alcohol
  • coffee
  • processed meats and highly processed foods

Learn more: Ulcerative colitis diet, meal planning, and foods to eat and avoid

You can ease cramps and intestinal pains by soaking in a warm bath. Turn on some calming tunes, light a fragrant candle, and add a scoop of Epsom salts to the water to help yourself really relax.

Wear your pajamas or workout pants. Loose-fitting clothing can help relieve stomach pains. And being comfortable can help you feel more relaxed, which may mean you’ll get back into remission sooner.

Buy a power inverter for your car and take your heating pad on the go. Heat can be a soothing solution for cramps and help reduce flare-up symptoms. Whether you’re just running errands or going on a longer road trip, a heating pad can provide speedy comfort.

Keep a spare set of clothes and extra medication at your office and in your car. Flare-ups are unpredictable, but planning ahead means you’ll always be ready.

Having UC can lead to nutritional deficiencies, especially if the condition affects your ability to eat a variety of foods. You can talk with your doctor to find out whether certain supplements, such as omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin D, might be helpful to you.

UC causes inflammation of the lining of your intestine and impairs its ability to absorb fluids. This can cause watery diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration. Drinking a lot of fluids, such as water and tea, can help you prevent this. Avoid beverages such as coffee and alcohol, which actually make you lose more fluid.

Learn more: 6 additional tips to manage your UC

Living with a chronic condition such as UC can be challenging, so finding other people who understand your experience can really help support your mental health.

You can look for support groups in your area or try the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Power of Two peer support program.

Stress is a known trigger of UC flares. While it’s not always possible to avoid stress, certain strategies may help you reduce it. Things you can try include:

  • meditation
  • yoga
  • breathing exercises
  • distracting activities such as reading or listening to music

If your stress level is especially high, you can also consider making an appointment with a counselor or therapist.

How do you stop a flare-up of ulcerative colitis?

It’s not always possible to stop a flare-up of UC. But following some or all of the suggestions listed above can help prevent flare-ups in some cases and help reduce their severity when they occur.

Try to pay attention to your body so you can start to understand which symptoms you normally experience before or during a flare-up. Keeping a diary or record of symptom patterns can help, or you can try a UC management app.

How do you mentally deal with ulcerative colitis?

Research suggests that there may be a link between depression and UC inflammation. While living with UC isn’t easy, actively taking care of your physical and mental health can help.

For one thing, getting the right treatment and making certain lifestyle changes can provide relief, which can help improve your mood. Second, getting mental health support in the form of peer support, counseling, or (in some cases) medication can make a real difference.

Learn more: Ulcerative colitis and mental health: What to know and where to get help

What is the latest treatment for ulcerative colitis?

In 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved mirikizumab (Omvoh) to treat UC. This is a biologic drug targeting the protein interleukin-23.

Living with UC can be challenging, but these simple life hacks can make daily life with UC a little easier. You can also talk with your doctor about other ways to reduce your UC symptoms.