A patient deals with complications of ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative Colitis Myths

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation to occur inside your digestive tract.

This is a fairly common disease, but there are still many misconceptions about this condition that people still believe. Here are some of the most common myths about ulcerative colitis and the truth behind them.

Ulcerative colitis is the same as Crohn’s disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Because ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and IBS are all disorders that affect the digestive system and share similar symptoms, it can be easy to get them confused with one another. However, they are all distinct diseases. Ulcerative colitis affects the colon and rectum, with symptoms such as intestinal inflammation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. On the other hand, Crohn’s disease is not limited to the colon and can affect any part of the digestive tract. IBS is a much milder disorder that does not cause inflammation in the intestines at all.

Stress causes ulcerative colitis.

There is currently no evidence to suggest that stress is the primary cause of ulcerative colitis. However, it is possible for being under stress to exaggerate the symptoms of the condition and cause flare-ups.

There is no way to treat ulcerative colitis.

While there is no definitive cure for ulcerative colitis, there are many different treatment options that can help you manage the symptoms of the condition. Medications are available that can help to reduce the inflammation in your colon, prevent sudden attacks, and even keep the disease in remission by preventing flare-ups altogether. Some of the commonly prescribed medications for ulcerative colitis include steroids, aminosalicylates, immunomodulators, and biologics.

Certain foods cause ulcerative colitis.

One of the most common misconceptions about ulcerative colitis is that certain foods, particularly spicy or fried foods, cause ulcerative colitis to develop. While this is not true, it is possible that certain types of foods cause the symptoms of ulcerative colitis to become more exaggerated, especially during a flare-up period. For this reason, many people with ulcerative colitis will keep a food diary to track of what they eat to identify potential triggers.

Most people who have ulcerative colitis will eventually develop colon cancer.

While having an inflammatory bowel disease such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease will increase your chances of developing colorectal cancer, more than 90% of people who suffer from ulcerative colitis never develop cancer. Still, because of the increased risk, the American Cancer Society recommends that individuals with ulcerative colitis begin colonoscopy screenings eight to twelve years after diagnosis, regardless of age.

Ulcerative colitis is easy to diagnose.

Unfortunately, diagnosing a condition such as ulcerative colitis is not as simple as describing your symptoms to your doctor. Because there are so many other conditions with similar symptoms, diagnosing ulcerative colitis can sometimes be a very complicated process. Diagnosis begins with a physical exam and then involves a series of tests, including blood tests and stool samples. Finally, an evaluation of the colon is necessary by undergoing one of two procedures: a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy. Only after all of these steps are complete can a definitive diagnosis be made.

Last Updated: April 18, 2018