6 Tips for Traveling with Ulcerative Colitis

Ph. D., Health Writer
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Ulcerative colitis (UC) can affect every part of your life. However, with careful planning and a positive attitude, it doesn't have to limit your travel plans.

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Visualize smooth sailing

High stress can make your condition worse. Positive visualization is a technique that many professional athletes use. Take time to visualize your travels ahead of time, but do not imagine everything will go perfectly. Instead, picture some of the potential pitfalls and how you will navigate them.

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Request a wheelchair

If you are riding in a wheelchair, you can often skip some of the longer lines and save time. A wheelchair can be beneficial if you tend to experience pain from walking long distances and moving quickly. It also allows your body to rest.

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Accidents happen

If something does go wrong, don’t panic. Due to dietary changes, uncertain water sources and overall changes in environment and daily routines, many travelers suffer GI distress. Carry a bag with a change of clothes, Ziploc bags, antibacterial wipes and any creams or medications you need.

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Eat simply

Maintain your usual diet as much as possible when you are traveling. “Road food” that is high in fat may cause unnecessary digestive problems and diarrhea. Bring as many of your go-to foods with you as possible and try to maintain your regular eating schedule.

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Carry on your medications

Aside from the possibilties of delays or lost luggage, it is always a good idea to have your medications with you. Medications that are clearly labeled and declared at airport security are usually allowed without issue. If you have any doubts about your ability to take your medication on a plane with you, talk to your doctor before your trip about a “letter of medical necessity.”

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Get a “can’t wait” card

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has a “can’t wait” card to help you explain UC to the outside world. This card can be helpful for long lines in airport security or if the fasten seat belt sign is lit on the plane when you need to get up.