If you’ve just received an ulcerative colitis (UC) diagnosis, you likely have a lot of questions. And even if you’ve lived with UC for many years, you know that your management plan can change over time.
That’s why it’s always helpful to have resources available for when you want to learn more.
Books about UC and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be great references about the conditions and treatment options.
They can offer tips and advice on how to eat for UC and manage your mental health while living with this condition — and they can remind you that you’re not alone.
The books on this list were chosen for a few reasons.
Every book is written by someone with personal or professional experience with IBD — and sometimes both!
Some cover a variety of UC questions and topics, and some deal with more specific concerns, including diet and emotional health.
We’ve included books by people who share their personal experience, as well as a few titles for and about children and teens with IBD.
It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes published information, especially regarding treatments, can become outdated — particularly for a condition like UC, which has seen rapid improvements in treatment in recent years.
While the majority of the information in these books remains timely and helpful, you can visit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation website for the most up-to-date information regarding treatments and gut health research.
And, of course, talk with a healthcare professional about your individual situation to determine the best treatment options for you.
If you’ve just received a diagnosis of UC, you may be feeling overwhelmed. It can be hard to know where to start when first learning to live with this condition.
Here are a few books that cover a variety of topics, including symptoms, testing, treatment options, diet, surgery, and life with IBD.
‘Crohn’s & Colitis: Understanding & Managing IBD’
By Dr. A. Hillary Steinhart
This book covers virtually everything you need to know about living with UC.
It’s arranged in sections — on topics like surgery, medications, diet, mental health, and living well with UC — so you can easily find what you’re looking for.
It includes helpful charts, case studies, and answers to frequently asked questions. Plus, it’s easy to read, with medical terms clearly explained and diagrams and pictures to help with understanding.
‘Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis: Everything You Need To Know – The Complete Practical Guide’
By Fred Saibil, MD
This isn’t a new book, but it’s worth reading.
Saibil, an expert on IBD, comprehensively covers the facts, tips, and information about treatment, diet, lifestyle, and self-management that people who recently received a UC diagnosis will want to have at their fingertips.
While the medication and treatment information may not be up-to-date with what is currently available, many of the other topics discussed in this book are evergreen. So, it can be helpful to both adults and children living with UC.
‘Crohn’s and Colitis for Dummies’
By Tauseef Ali, MD
Like any of the books in the “For Dummies” series, this one is full of information that’s easy to understand. Each chapter is clearly outlined at the beginning, so you’ll know exactly where to find answers to your questions.
It has great detail on topics such as testing, diagnosis, treatments, diet, travel, and work. Plus, definitions and helpful tips can be found throughout the book.
Living with a chronic condition such as UC can affect your mental health. The unpredictability and unknowns can be hard to cope with.
Here are a few books that focus on taking care of your emotional health as part of your UC care plan.
‘IBD and the Gut-Brain Connection: A Patient’s and Carer’s Guide to Taming Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis’
By Dr. Antonina Mikocka-Walus
Mikocka-Walus has researched the gut-brain connection for more than 20 years. She also lives with IBD.
This book explores how living with IBD affects your mental health. It offers guidance on how to deal with work, family, and social life while also managing IBD.
It also offers advice and strategies for dealing with the emotional effects of IBD.
‘Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions’
By Kate Lorig, DrPH, et al.
This book was originally based on a Stanford research study, but the latest edition also includes input from medical professionals and people who are living with chronic conditions.
It explores how people with chronic conditions can improve their health and live their lives to the fullest.
Any chronic disease can affect mood, energy, sleep, and overall feelings of well-being. This book and a related program of workshops and support groups offer strategies to help you feel more in control of your health and your life.
You can find out if there are workshops offered in your area by searching here, under “Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.” There’s also a website associated with this book that has plenty of resources and links to help you.
Food choices are important when you have UC. These books provide details on how food choices can help you manage symptoms of UC. It’s a good idea to work with a dietitian if you need support when making dietary changes.
‘Crohn’s and Colitis Diet Guide’
By Dr. A. Hillary Steinhart and Julie Cepo, RD
This book provides tons of information on eating to manage UC. It’s co-written by a doctor and a dietitian who have lots of experience treating people with IBD.
It offers tips on foods to include or avoid to help manage certain symptoms. It also discusses nutrients that may be hard to get when you have IBD and how to boost your intake of them.
More than half of the book is recipes, and each includes information on what dietary needs they’re best for, including lower fiber, lower fat, higher protein, vegetarian, and many more.
The recipes also feature tips for food preparation and nutritional analysis.
‘Breaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health Through Diet’
By Elaine Gottschall, MSc
This book has been around for a while, but it’s still relevant. It outlines an eating plan, called the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD).
The book claims this plan has helped thousands of people around the world with digestive and other chronic health issues. Though it’s hard to verify this data, a 2015 study of 50 people following this diet backs up these findings.
Following this diet may help change the bacteria colonies in your gut and may improve UC and IBD symptoms.
The diet eliminates all grains, sugars, some vegetables, soy, and lactose-containing dairy. The foods you can eat include some vegetables, fruits, nuts, nut-based flours, meats, butter, oils, eggs, and low lactose dairy.
If you decide to try it, make sure you have good support from a dietitian who has experience with the SCD. It can be tricky to figure out how to get the right balance of nutrients while following the diet.
Sometimes, knowing that other people have had similar experiences can provide comfort. That’s part of the power of support groups.
Everyone’s story will be unique but there will be shared experiences and challenges. It can be helpful to know that you’re not alone.
‘What Doesn’t Kill You: A Life with Chronic Illness – Lessons from a Body in Revolt’
By Tessa Miller
Tessa Miller was just living her life, getting started in her career. Out of nowhere, she began having severe digestive symptoms. Eventually, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.
In her story, she shares the process of (finally) getting answers and accepting her new life.
‘Ulcerative Colitis: When the Bottom Drops Out of Your World’
By Chris Goodchild
Chris Goodchild was in his 20s and simply loving his life. Getting diagnosed with a chronic disease was the last thing on his mind.
Suddenly, strange and painful symptoms took over. Soon, he was in the hospital, receiving a UC diagnosis. This is his story of learning to cope with UC and feel hopeful again.
If you’re the caregiver of a child or teen with IBD, there are some special things to consider. And books designed specifically for children and teens can help them better understand their IBD and learn how to cope.
‘Your Child with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Family Guide for Caregiving’
By Hepatology and Nutrition North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, et al.
It’s natural to worry about how your child will cope with things like school and sports, especially when they’re living with IBD.
This book answers questions about managing your child’s UC. Written by a team of UC experts who work with children and their families, it provides details on treatments and medications used for children and teens.
The tone is knowledgeable and empathetic, and the information is presented clearly. It answers many questions parents and caregivers have about caring for their child.
‘Comfort Food for an Uncomfortable Stomach: By a Kid for Kids’
By Josh Cohen
John Cohen was diagnosed with UC in his early teens. It was tough for him to find foods that worked for him. He started to realize that many foods he ate made his symptoms worse.
Through a lot of trial and error, he developed new versions of his favorite foods, which he shares here. He’s donating proceeds from the sale of this book to his local chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.
‘IBD & Me Activity Book’
By the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America
This is a great free resource available on the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation website. It’s targeted to kids and teens who are navigating the world of IBD.
It includes ideas about how to talk to friends and teachers about IBD. It also has tips for dealing with sports, school, field trips, parties, and all sorts of other typical “kid things.”
These titles aren’t specific to UC but can be enjoyable books. They’re great for anyone keen to learn more about the digestive tract and gut microbiome, and they can help you better understand how your body works.
‘Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ’
By Giulia Enders
This is an engaging and easy-to-understand book about the mysteries of the digestive system. The author, Giulia Enders, is a German scientist who has done a TED talk on the same topic.
Your gut is full of messengers that communicate directly with your brain. More and more research is being done on the connection between gut health and overall health.
This book answers questions you may not even know you have about the digestive system.
‘Follow your Gut: The Enormous Impact of Tiny Microbes’
By Rob Knight and Brendan Buhler
This is a quick but fascinating read, based on Rob Knight’s 2014 TED talk of the same name. It’s all about the body’s microbiome and its impact on our health.
Your gut microbiome is made up of colonies of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in and on your body. The majority live in your gut, and are known as your gut microbiome.
There’s ongoing research into how your gut microbiome is connected to your overall health, with links to mood, weight, and a variety of health conditions. There’s a small mention of IBD in the book, but otherwise, it’s an overview of gut health.
You’ll enjoy this if you want to learn more about the future of things like fecal transplants or the use of probiotics.
There are several great books available about UC. They can help you learn more about all aspects of living well with UC. They cover treatments, medications, taking care of your mental health, and diet.
When looking for books about UC, it’s a good idea to choose one written by someone who is an expert on the condition. This may be someone who works with people who have UC or someone who lives with IBD.
Talk with your healthcare team if you have any questions about anything you read and to determine the best management plan for you.