The effects of being diagnosed with then having to endure living with colitis should never be underestimated. Yet there are a large number of people who are also affected by colitis, namely family or friends that care for the sufferer. It can be challenging, both emotionally and physically caring for someone with colitis and having an understanding of what happens can be invaluable.
Colitis is a chronic illness of the large colon where inflammation can develop and create symptoms of severe abdominal pain, bleeding, diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss, depression plus the side effects of the various medications that can be prescribed. Thankfully the symptoms are not always present, giving respite to the sufferer and their carer, yet even during these periods of remission there still has to be a watchful eye on how life is lived in order not to unintentionally provoke the disease from its benign slumber.
One of the key factors that can be forgotten for getting through a flare up is the necessity to have as much rest as can be possible. This will mean that the sufferer will be required to take time off from work, in fact they should really withdraw from the usual activities of daily life and that will mean they require assistance. There can be a temptation to do little jobs around the house or go out shopping, especially if the symptom are not severe, yet this should be avoided. Yes, there will always be things that require to be done, but it is for someone else to ensure that they are, in fact, done. Rest means rest by trying to eliminate as much physical movement as possible. Necessities such as the preparation of food, running errands should be left to the person caring for the sufferer.
Activities like driving should be avoided and thus the sufferer may need assistance getting to the doctor or hospital. Actually, when the symptoms grow in strength, all travel should be avoided. When the symptoms are strong, the sufferer will undoubtedly require to remain in bed for longer periods yet it is still beneficial to have them out of the bed for a short period of time. This may require assistance as will perhaps dressing, bathing and walking. For the carer, it can be helpful to imagine that those living with colitis, and who have strong symptoms, are experiencing many of the challenges that old age also brings and to give assistance in the same way that you would an old person. This is particularly true in relation to the physical challenges faced when enduring a colitis flare up.
In addition, there has to be consideration to any side effects that may arise as a result of medication taken, such with the use of steroids. They can create psychological changes in the form of mood swings and depression and therefore the personality of the person that you know so well may subtlety change during the course of the flare up.
It is important to give as much emotional support to them and reassure them that whilst the flare up has happened, it will slowly regress and a path to health will not be far away. It is invaluable to help the sufferer to focus on what requires to be done to get through the worst of the flare up and give them reassurance that they do have adequate support when it matters through their challenge of living with colitis.