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What are the symptoms of colitis?

Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis symptoms vary depending on the severity of inflammation and where in the colon it occurs. The following symptoms may be experienced, depending on which part of the colon is involved: abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea, passing small amount of blood with stool, rectal pain, and urgency to defecate.  Inability to defecate despite a sense of urgency is not uncommon. Additionally, weight loss and fatigue are commonly experienced.

How common is colitis?1

Prevalence of ulcerative colitis is suggested to be 238 per 100,000 adults.

What is CBT for ulcerative colitis like?

For all disorders, the CBT therapist starts by educating clients about their diagnosis and about CBT, helps clients set goals, and teaches clients essential thinking and behavioral skills to manage their symptoms and increase their quality of life. When working with clients with ulcerative colitis, the CBT therapists puts special emphasis on the role of stress and exacerbation of colitis symptoms. Although stress does not cause inflammatory bowel disease, chronic stress reactions can cause flare-ups and make symptoms worse. To manage stress, a CBT clinician will assist the client in establishing and maintaining regular exercise, teach relaxed breathing and other self-regulation skills such as mindfulness meditation. CBT clinicians will also help clients identify and modify thoughts that create anticipatory anxiety. And, as depression may be more common in individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis, the CBT therapist also addresses maladaptive cognitions that may be affecting and maintaining depressed mood.

1Kappelman, M. D., Rifas–Shiman, S. L., Kleinman, K., Ollendorf, D., Bousvaros, A., Grand, R. J., & Finkelstein, J. A. (2007). The prevalence and geographic distribution of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the United States. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology5(12), 1424-1429.doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2007.07.012