Similarities Ulcerative Colitis and Stress

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After going through a stressful event, people with ulcerative Colitis might experience a flare-up of their symptoms. This is because stress, nutrition, environment, and smoking habits can trigger a flare-up of Colitis.

Even though stress and ulcerative Colitis may be two completely distinct and unrelated illnesses, this is untrue. Read on to discover more about stress and ulcerative Colitis and how they are similar.


Any change that creates physical, emotional, or psychological distress is stress. Your body reacts to anything that demands attention or action by causing stress. Stress affects everyone to some extent. Your general well-being, however, is greatly influenced by how you handle stress.

A small amount of stress is necessary for people to function and defend themselves, but excessive stress can overpower them and cause a fight, flight or freeze reaction.

Long-term (chronic) stress results in ongoing activation of the stress response, which wears down the body over time. Symptoms emerge that are behavioral, emotional, and physical.

Fear, worry, difficulty relaxing, increased heart rate, breathing difficulty, disruption of sleep, change in eating habits, difficulty concentrating, intensifying of pre-existing health issues (physical or mental), increased drinking, tobacco, and other drugs are some of the symptoms of stress.

Stress cannot be measured objectively with testing. Its presence and intensity are only discernible to the individual experiencing them. A healthcare professional may use questionnaires to learn more about your stress and how it influences your daily life.

Your healthcare professional can assess stress-related symptoms if you experience chronic stress. For instance, it is possible to diagnose and treat high blood pressure.

Ulcerative Colitis

UC, or ulcerative Colitis, is an inflammatory intestinal condition. The digestive system, commonly known as the lining of the large intestine, can become inflamed, irritated, and develop ulcers.

Your immune system makes a mistake, which results in ulcerative Colitis. Typically, it fights against invading organisms like the common cold. 

But, if you suffer from UC, your immune response feels that food, the good bacteria in your stomach, and the cells lining your colon are the invaders. As a result, the white blood cells attack the lining of your stomach instead of defending you. As a result, they cause inflammation and ulcers.

The complications of ulcerative Colitis can occasionally be fatal and draining. Although there is no real cure, several innovative treatments can significantly lessen the disease’s signs and symptoms and result in long-lasting remission.

Depending on the level of the inflammation and its location, the symptoms of ulcerative Colitis can change. Common signs include:

  • Diarrhea, frequently bloody.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Cramping.
  • Back pain.
  • Bodily bleeding.
  • Urgent need to urinate/
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of weight.

Most ulcerative colitis patients have mild to severe symptoms. However, some people experience protracted relapse periods from their ulcerative Colitis, which can vary in severity.


Some similarities between stress and ulcerative Colitis are given below.


Stress triggers your body’s fight-or-flight response. Many molecules, including cytokines, are released as a result. These chemicals cause inflammation by activating your immune system.

Due to the inflammatory nature of ulcerative Colitis, individuals with the condition may be particularly vulnerable to stress. It mostly affects the rectum, or innermost lining of the large intestine, commonly known as the colon, and produces inflammation and ulcers in the bowels.

Gut-brain Connection

The gut-brain axis is the link between the digestive and central neurological systems. Nerve impulses regulate the muscle and mucosa of the gastrointestinal tract, and the stomach communicates with the central nervous system.

Recently, studies have discovered that gut microbiota can influence brain impulses, activating regions of the brain that control emotions.

A source of worry and anxiety, as well as possible evidence, may come from worries about the timing and severity of ulcerative colitis symptoms. At the same time, stress and anxiety can exacerbate inflammatory bowel conditions like ulcerative Colitis.

Treatment for the psychological and physiological consequences of ulcerative Colitis, including stress, may be crucial.

Health professionals can better understand how treating mental health issues can benefit ulcerative colitis patients with digestive problems by examining the two-way relationship between the brain and the stomach.

Treatment & Management

Two key objectives underlie UC treatment. The first is to improve your mood and give your colon time to recover. The second goal is to stop further flare-ups. To achieve those goals, you should adjust your diet while taking medication or having surgery.

You can’t avoid stress when it comes to stress management. Still, you can prevent it from becoming unbearable by practicing some daily strategies, such as working out, going for a quick walk, making daily, weekly, or monthly objectives, and consulting a therapist or healthcare professional.

Despite the apparent differences in the two illnesses’ management and treatment strategies, they have one thing in common: they both depend on the patient’s mental health. Additionally, reducing your stress can immediately lessen flare-ups of ulcerative Colitis.

Yoga is a mind-body technique that mixes stretching and breathing to promote relaxation. It can help relieve UC symptoms. And if done every day, it can also aid with stress management.

A restful night’s sleep may help you unwind and refresh and lessen your stress levels and reduce your risk of experiencing a UC flare. Start by maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle and avoiding devices, coffee, and bright lights an hour or two before bed.


Difference between ulcerative Colitis and stress

While ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory disorder of the colon that results from a mistake of the immune system and is an uncommon condition, stress is a typical human reaction that happens to everyone and consists of physical, emotional, or psychological changes.

What has similar symptoms to ulcerative Colitis?

The most prevalent condition that mimics ulcerative colitis symptoms is Crohn’s. These are the two primary kinds of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Can stress bring on Colitis?

While stress isn’t the cause of ulcerative Colitis, it can trigger a flare-up of Colitis along with nutrition, environment, and smoking habits.

Can stress increase episodes of ulcerative Colitis?

Inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative Colitis can flare up due to stress and trigger an episode.

Is ulcerative Colitis caused by anxiety?

Ulcerative Colitis is not caused by anxiety, although stress and anxiety can cause UC to flare up.

What are the red flags for ulcerative Colitis?

The most frequent UC red flags are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea, ranging in severity from moderate and sporadic to severe and chronic.

What triggers ulcerative colitis flares?

Stress is a major trigger of ulcerative Colitis, alcohol, smoking, diet, etc.

Author: Syed Hasan

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