One of the most difficult symptoms of ulcerative colitis that I have had to deal with is abdominal cramps. Now, keep in mind that I have children and I think that some of the abdominal cramps that I have rival contractions. OK, maybe they are not that bad – but, sometimes, they sure feel like it!
I have several ways that I cope with the horrible abdominal cramps associated with ulcerative colitis. It is just a matter of trial and error with each abdominal cramp flare-up to figure out what method works the best for that set of cramps. I only take prescription medication when I absolutely have to, and I will not take them if I am staying home and not going anywhere.
I have discovered that laying flat on my stomach on the floor helps to lessen the pain. I am not sure why this works, but it does work for me. I know a few other ulcerative colitis sufferers who say that this helps them, too. When you first lie down on the floor, it hurts a little more, but once you lie down fully and relax, the pain does lessen.
I remember during child birth the nurses told me not to tense my body up. This suggestion works for ulcerative colitis cramps too! The more relaxed you can keep your stomach area, the less it will hurt. I guess that this is why stretching my abdominal muscles works sometimes.
I have an exercise ball that I will lay across on my back. This helps sometimes. I use my exercise ball a lot. I will turn over and lay on my stomach sometimes because the pressure helps to relieve the cramps too.
I have also figured out that if I exercise my stomach muscles when I am not having cramps, that my cramps are not as bad. I do abdominal exercises on my exercise ball. I also work my back muscles. This also helps with my cramps.
Sometimes, if I am having truly horrible cramps, I run a bath tub of warm water. I put Epsom salt in the water. I make sure that the water is between 104 degrees and 110 degrees. I am not sure exactly why but, this is the temperature range that seems to work the best for me. Anything cooler does not help much. Anything hotter seems to make my cramps worse. Plus, if the water is too hot, I can’t sit in it very long. When you do soak in the tub, if it is not deep enough to cover your whole stomach, turn over and lay on your stomach. This has a triple effect because there will be light pressure on your stomach, it will be in the warm water and you will be stretching your stomach muscles slightly because you have to keep your face out of the water.
I guess that everyone just has to figure out what works for them when it comes to getting through ulcerative colitis cramps. It took me about a year to figure out what works for me. I have a lot of friends who have ulcerative colitis and a few friends with other abdominal conditions who gave me a lot of suggestions that worked for them but, some of the suggestions just did not seem to work for me.
Just remember that every abdominal cramp is different so, you may have to try a few different things to get the best relief possible.