A friend that I chat with on another web site mentioned that she was having her first Ulcerative Colitis (UC) flare-up in a couple of years and she couldn't figure out why. After some prodding and questioning from fellow chatters it was discovered that she had been taking NSAID's (Aleve, I think) for a couple of weeks to treat an aching knee.
For reasons doctors don't understand, NSAID's are not a good idea for an IBDer to take. They seem to aggravate the colon and can cause a flare-up of the disease. There is also some broad speculation in the medical field that long-term NSAID use may even cause the onset of certain cases of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I used to take NSAID's quite a bit before I was diagnosed with UC and now only take Tylenol to treat aches and pains.
After realizing her mistake, my friend asked us what she should do now that she was in flare. We had to remind her that what works for one to treat a flare may not work for all. But here are some of the suggestions that we gave her. Of course, if my readers here have their own treatment guidelines for working through an IBD flare-up, we'd love to have you share them. It never hurts to have as many options as possible.
First, I recommend you call your gastroenterologist. Talk to his/her nurse and discuss your current symptoms. Chances are the doctor will want to see you in their office but speaking with their nurse is a good starting point. Once you see the doctor they may have you increase your medication, or add another medication, or may even suggest a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Do not increase or decrease your prescription medication on your own, always consult with your gastroenterologist first.
Second, give your gut a break. When I'm in a UC flare I find my appetite is on the lackluster side. Simple, what I call "white and light," foods seem the tastiest but also the easiest to digest. When you're in a flare your colon is inflamed and possibly ulcerated, so eating harsh foods is like rubbing salt in a wound. Instead, eat easily digestible foods. I like baked chicken breast or white fish, white rice (with a little olive oil and a dash of salt), good quality yogurt, bananas, applesauce, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches on white bread, and banana smoothies (banana, soy milk, yogurt, and a touch of honey - yum!).
Third, make sure to stay hydrated. If you are having multiple diarrhea bowel movements per day you are losing a lot of fluids and you need to replace them to keep from becoming dehydrated. I tend to keep a jar of powdered Gatorade in my kitchen pantry, but I drink it in a very diluted solution so the acid doesn't bother my gut further. Or, you might find a more natural electrolyte drink called, Recharge, in your grocer's natural foods aisle - this is my favorite option for replenishing electrolytes but the Gatorade powder is good for traveling and in a pinch. Green or herbal tea is also good. But you probably want to stay away from caffeinated drinks and soda pop.