Are UC’ers More Neurotic Than Others?

if you make pictures of yourself with toilet paper in your hand and throw it on the've probably got some personality dementsions:)

if you make pictures of yourself with toilet paper in your hand and throw it on the Internet…you’ve probably got some personality dementsions:)

Hey, I hope you are all doing well.

I’m actually writing this post in a bit of a hurry as I’m hitting the road tomorrow and heading back to the US, but I wanted to make sure to get this posted before taking off in the morning. Earlier tonight I was doing some research on PubMed and I came across a study which caught my eye.  (if you haven’t heard of PubMed, be sure to read about how to use this ultra-valuable free resource later:

So here’s the deal, there’s a recent study from a few months ago titled “Personality dimensions and type D personality in female patients with ulcerative colitis“.  If you’re like me, you’d never heard of a “TYPE D Personality”, so here’s how the study defines this:

“Type D personality encompasses two main personality traits: 1) Negative Affectivity (NA) and 2) Social Inhibition (SI). Negative affectivity which is defined as the tendency to experience negative emotions across various times and situations, is closely related to neuroticism. Having high score in this trait, point out to more feelings of dysphoria, anxiety, irritability, anger, and a negative view about self and the external world. Social inhibition refers to the tendency to inhibit the expression of emotions in social interactions. Individuals with high SI score tend to avoid expressing negative emotions because of their fear of disapproval or getting no reward from the others.”

Take a moment and maybe read over that definition there again, there’s alot of big words there, and holy crap, I think I recognize some of them in myself for sure, maybe you too:)

Back to the actual study, it was interesting to learn that a group of doctors/scientists had decided to take the plunge and explore some of the effects that UC/IBD has on personality traits.  There are some big words used in the full article (which is free to read), but much of the “Results & Discussion” section is simple to read and learn from.  And I highly encourage you all to give it a read if this topic is interesting for you.

So often on this site we talk about our physical symptoms, and diets/medications/poop transplants/surgery etc… but there’s obviously so much more to living with UC.  That’s no big surprise.  I mean come on…the big QOL (quality of life) score, that’s pretty important right?

Here’s a few snippets directly from the study which I think you may find interesting too:

  • “The present findings showed that UC patients scored significantly higher on Neuroticism than the normal group.”
  • “type D personality may be associated with greater cortisol reactivity to stress”
  • “negative emotions cause some changes in the gastrointestinal motor, sensory and secretory functions[12] and thereby exacerbate the bowel symptoms in neurotic UC patients”
  • “UC patients compared to the healthy control group scored lower in extraversion”
  • “IBD patients utilize more passive coping strategies”

One thing the authors of the study explained, which should also be considered is this:

“The results of this study should be interpreted with some cautions because of some limitations. First, the current findings were based on relatively small sample size which has limited investigating the mediational or moderational relations. Second, this study was performed only on female UC patients”.

So what do you think, is this type of study interesting for you also?

Does this make you feel better/worse in any ways?

Do you feel you fit into some of the research? (I’m for sure lower in extraversion compared to 10 years ago…maybe a good thing though:)

The Bottom Line:

Maybe the results aren’t the most amazing thing you’ve seen this week, that’s your decision.  But it sure makes me feel good knowing there’s research happening on these topics.  So many thanks to the good folks out there in Iran who conducted this project.  The more we know, the more likely we are to find solutions for everyone.  That’s what I believe.

The full article can be read for free right here:


In good health,

Adam Scheuer


PS: 10 Brownie Points for anybody who writes a comment below declaring yourself a “Type D” pesonality

79 thoughts on “Are UC’ers More Neurotic Than Others?”

  1. Well the article describes my daughter to a “T”. She’s always been neurotic, scared of new situations, lots of anger management issues at home but very well behaved and inhibited in public. Very rigid in her thinking, very sensitive to other’s emotions. UC for 10 months now. I’ve told her part of her healing is going to need to include meditation or yoga or some way for her to deal with her emotions better but she isn’t going for it. Maybe this article will persuade her of that.

    1. Hey Colleen,

      Thanks for sharing some of what’s happening with your daughter, and on behalf of everyone else here, I sure hope her one year anniversary is a time where she’s made progress in managing her UC compared to a year ago.

      And also, no matter if she gets persuaded by anything in the posting/research or not, hopefully she’ll realize that she’s for sure not alone if she does find that she has some stuff in common with the other “Type D’s” out there.

      Best of luck to both of you,

    2. Yes, I think that particularly digestive diseases are very much the result of having a type D personality. The connection between personality type and disease was dropped in the 60s because they did not know how to move on from that. I think the time has come to look at this again. It is so much easier to obtain statistics on such matters these days.
      I do think this particular study is incredibly flawed though! There is talk of ‘ normal ‘ patients, instead of using the word healthy!
      Thanks for the article though. I had been thinking that psychology had been neglected in Ihaveuc website.

  2. Jeez thanks a lot world of medicine. First I have an incurable life limiting condition and now I am also negative, neurotic and socially inhibited.

    Come back when you have something helpful to share.

    1. What up Lisa, great to hear from you, thought you were on an extended vacation:) hoping that was the case:))

      Don’t be so quick to claim type D…

      you know next week we’ll be rolling out Type E…

      (that’s a joke:)

      take care, and glad to hear from you:)

  3. I definitely inhibit my emotions socially but I don’t feel that the half about negative emotions describes me. I don’t think having UC has fundamentally changed my personality although I do get grumpy during flairs. The social inhibition stuff I have certainly had my whole life.

  4. I have psychological/anxiety and depression issues which came before my colitis. I have to take antidepressants. I think the 2 must be linked somehow.

  5. Type D, yep sounds like me, A constant state of “fight or flight” is bad for the digestive system.

    This article has reminded me to make dealing with stress an even greater priority, without getting too worried about it obviously!

    Thanks Adam….

      1. But which came first? Type D personality may be the result of having UC. I know my personality changed and I became more nervous when I was always worried I wouldn’t find a bathroom in time. My emotions would be more heightened if I were in a social setting overwhelmed by fear that I would need to run to the bathroom. No enjoyment of any of the social interactions because my fear of the potential embarrassment took over. The study would have more strength if they tested the personality first then studied the same subjects later to see if they developed UC.

  6. I don’t know. This kinda sounds like psycho-babble to me. Doesn’t everyone “experience negative emotions across various times and situations”?? Isn’t that part of being human?

    I do think our personalities, thought patterns, and ability to manage stress affects our uc, tho. I’m realizing that I take stress to the gut. There is a lot of sensitivity in our guts – which is why we have the phrase “gut feeling”. Currently, I’m learning how to relax my gut muscles, and I’ve decided to have counseling to sort thru some stuff in my life. Along with the counseling comes biofeedback, which I knew nothing about before. Apparently, it will measure how I handle stress physically (measuring muscle tightness, perspiration, etc). Then I will learn techniques on managing stress & be able to see how my body reacts differently.

    Along with weaning off meds & being very deliberate with the supplements I take, I figured I should also approach my uc from this angle of stress & anxiety management. It is probably equally as important.

    For myself, I know I tend towards intensity. A deep thinker, an over-thinker. Good in some ways, I suppose, but I can get a little extreme. Ha.

    I believe another hugely important thing for us is rest, i.e. Sleep. Just plain old solid sleep. :)


    p.s. Bev, how are you doing?

    1. Lynne, I agree that sleep is one of the most important pieces in keeping my UC from flaring… sleep, regular stretching/exercise, and lots of green leafy veggies/balance diet gave me 6 years w/o a flareup. I do find it very compelling that this study found a correlation to UC and the described symptoms. I feel that I have suffered throughout my life more than those around me with many of the bullet points described. I also over think and get wrapped up in deep thought, and am too often intense. It feels to me like these symptoms could all be part of the correlation the study found with UC. Just my $0.02. I would love to be less like the symptoms and more calm/relaxed.

  7. I don’t know if I am “neurotic” but I do think my developing UC has a lot to do with me not dealing well with my emotional stress. I do tend to bottle things up and not let people know when I am not feeling on top of the world but I also know that no one wants to hang around with someone who is always complaining so in that way I don’t like to make my problems everyone elses…is that being neurotic? Either way it’s difficult to change now but maybe I could do with some kind of “beating up a doll” therapy. LOL! :) What does everyone else do to deal with their “issues”?

    1. Colleen, Your “beating up a doll” comment really holds true for me. I just bought a 70 pound punching bag and need to get it put up in my garage. I have realized in the last year that I hold in my anger too much. Never knew how to deal with it so I thought, hey, I’ll get a punching bag. Hope it’ll help, if I ever get it put up, ha.

    1. I was thinking the very same thing, Erica…I was optimistic, happy, and never depressed at all before I got UC.

      I still am those things, unless I’m in a flare…then I tend to get ‘down’ and more introverted…

      These past 15 months of remission have been awesome. I am out and about…out of my ‘shell’ so to speak. Happy and optimistic, like my old self again.

      Food for thought…the chicken or the egg…

        1. OMG–so true! I’m in the middle of a flare, bleeding a bunch, and just found out my insurance will only cover a colonoscopy if it’s just a “screener,” but since I actually have a reason that someone needs to go take a look, now I am responsible for $100 co-pay and must meet my deductible of $2500! That makes no sense! Not to mention that just dealing with the gastroenterologist stresses me out because the office staff is so rude!

          1. That doesn’t make sense, Erica. I have a $2900 deductible which I had to meet in 2009 when I got diagnosed and this year when I had a severe flare in January. Plus paying monthly premiums myself cause I am self employed is really, really hard. I am getting on a budget and trying to find ways to cut back on phone, etc to help.

    2. I have to agree, I don’t think I was Type D until AFTER I developed UC. It changed so much in my life.

  8. Definitely. I have to admit to both. Socially inhibited. I forced myself to develop friendships. It really helped. Struggle with negative thoughts. I think this is related to my UC.

  9. Interesting…I thought after reading Adam’s post most people would jump in and try to refute it. I mean who wants to be told you are neurotic and that may have led to UC. I for one am very extroverted, took years to learn how to keep my mouth shut when I prefer to let people know exactly how I feel in the moment, and tend to look at the positives over the negatives. I even look at my extreme reaction to Lialda that shut down my major organs as a blessing. I do tend to stress about things and definitely try to control outcomes which can get my intestines in a wad. I am curious to know about a study done by men about women, in a culture that has historically suppressed the rights and freedoms of women…..(sorry to stir the pot)

    1. No, Sharon…stir away!

      I don’t think I’m this ‘type D’ at all…

      Read my post above…

      I don’t concur with this idea 100%.


  10. When I read the 5 bullet points it made me a little anxious as it describes me very well unfortunately. Now that I have thought about it for a few minutes, I am relieved and a little hopeful that it will encourage more UC studies. I am very interested in this particular study and would try to participate in a male or gender neutral study if there was one in SoCal. I’ll keep a look out and post if I find one.

    Adam, have you come across any other information related to these findings that suggest UC sufferers can counteract (or mask?) these symptoms. …besides the run-of-them-mill psychiatric/pharmaceutical cocktails. I would love to be less like the bullet points describe, and my family would love it too.

    Thanks for sharing your great find!

    1. Hey Greg,

      This topic is pretty interesting, and in the coming weeks I’ll be doing alot more research into it. For now, I don’t have any more info on it, but I’m sure its out there, and I’ll try to bring it forward soon.

      Best to you, and I’m most happy that in some way this research has brought you some relief.


    2. Greg, have you tried Valerian Root? It’s supposed to have both a stress-relieving effect and help with GI issues (perhaps this points to another correlation between the two, for some of us anyway). I started taking it recently to see if it would help with the cramps I was still getting at night-time that would wake me from my sleep. It worked almost immediately for me and it gives you the very awesome benefit of also getting a good night’s sleep. I’ve never taken anything for anxiety or any kind of sleep aid, but I have to say this has added another layer to my healing that I am very appreciative for. Nothing like a good night’s sleep to help restore us.

      1. Greg, I agree with Col about the Valerian Root, I believe it is natural and I also use it now and again. I used it at night but it also had a calming effect during the day. As always, read the instructions…

      2. Thanks Col/Graham. I am not familiar with Valerian Root, but am looking into it. Do you know if it is only supposed to be used at night? From your experience, does it work during the day? Or will I be to relaxed/groggy/drowsy/etc. to work a desk job?

        1. Greg, it’s a natural sleep aid that helps anxiety, best taken at night so you are not drowsy during the day (when you are working). I wasn’t aware of being drowsy during the day but definitely less anxious and calmer. Available in most UK chemists not sure elsewhere..

  11. I have to agree with Lynne. I think anyone (not just UC’ers) when they get diagnosed with a disease is going to take a self-esteem hit, that’s being human. It would be interesting to see how long patients have had UC in respect to its effect on personality traits. Or if people with a tendency for Type D personality before getting sick becomes more exaggerated. Everyone handles stress differently. I’ve found that getting diagnosed with UC has helped me in a very weird way. I used to be very shy and introverted (before getting diagnosed) and now I’m pretty much like “screw it, I’m doing what I want and having fun”.

  12. I have some reservations about this study. Did you catch that the “normal” controls were the sisters of those who had the ulcerative colitis? That could add another dimension to the study results. (How many were older sisters vs younger, how did family perceive the sister with IBD when compared to the “normal” sister.)

    One quote stands out for me:

    “Perhaps patient’s mental preoccupation with the disease, its consequences, and prognosis result in the lack of thought flexibility and real limitations that may be related to bowel symptoms such as faecal incontinence, which in turn restrict patient’s openness to new experiences in new situations.”

    Yes, yes, and yes. Living with IBD takes a huge part of your brain function, and just getting through the day while acting like you aren’t sick is difficult. There are so many factors at work here, and being social or “extraverted” aren’t high on the list.

    This is not to say that it’s inconceivable that there can be personality traits common in people who have IBD. But how would we know if they were “pre” or “post” diagnosis unless patients were studied both before and after?

    It’s good to see this type of study being done, but I’m not sure this particular one adds anything new to our understanding. The take-away for me is that we need help and support to improve our quality of life, which most of us clearly aren’t getting. Maybe that would calm some of our neuroses. (Not to say I’m neurotic. OK, I am, but that’s neither here nor there…)

    Thanks for the discussion!

  13. Interesting…I agree with lots above…chicken or the egg. Really I find myself a little more OCD about bathrooms and food, etc because we HAVE to! After more and more years it is what you do and not depressing,but just a UC way of life…especially when flaring.
    :-) Shelly

    1. and our diets are generally better, we know our bodies inside and out, we exercise, we practically have degrees in nutrition, pharmacy, Dr/nurse,
      Can find any bathroom in a infinite radius!, save money not eating out or going out drinking! And even though UC sucks…the grass is never greener… :-)

  14. Holy cow ..sounds alot like me. I get alot of negative thoughts and get depressed alot and anxiety .I thought I was alone on this.

  15. This is the other Colleen. Switching my moniker because there seem to be a few Colleens on the site recently. Anyway, I also think this study is looking through the wrong lens. We all have a little neurotic in us, but whose neuroses isn’t going to be exacerbated by the symptoms we all experience when in a bad flare. I mean, when you need a bathroom as often as we do, and experience symptoms as embarrassing and humiliating as we do on a daily basis (when in a flare), who isn’t going to experience high levels of stress and some seemingly neurotic behavior? Especially when things are bad.

    I do however totally agree that stress plays a part in making symptoms worse. So those of us who are more sensitive to stress need to be aware of that and work on keeping stress out of our lives as much as we can. It’s chicken-egg in some cases, but the bottom line is to relieving stress helps us all around.

    1. Right on Col/Colleen,

      ” but the bottom line is to relieving stress helps us all around.”

      At the end of the day, what you said above is a great goal to have for sures!!

  16. Not it! This reminds me of when I was diagnosed – let me set the stage…I was 18, sitting in my new GI doc’s office which hadn’t been updated since the 70’s, with my doc and several nurses standing around me (idk why they were all there- probably bc i looked awful). I hadn’t eaten in days, I’d lost 20 lbs (!), and I could no longer drink water without running to the bathroom! So I was in bad shape…
    They had a paper all about people with UC being type “A” personality
    Nurse: (reading off a paper) “Are you stressed?”
    Me: “well…yes…i’ve been sh***ing blood for days”
    Nurse: “How do you deal with stress?”
    Me: “I like to run long distance!”
    Nurses tut-tut in unison: “oooh! noooo!”
    Me: “what?”
    Nurse: (reading off paper) “People with ulcerative colitis tend to eat while walking….” looks at me over her glasses expectantly…
    Me: “well, yeah. sometimes I eat while I’m walking to class because I’m not allowed to eat during class”
    Nurse: “…How many bowel movements did you have per day before getting sick?”
    Me: “What’s a bowel movement?”
    Nurse: “How many times did you go to the bathroom?”
    Me: “oh…it depended on how much water I drank (thinking “peeing” was a bowel movement). Seven, I guess?”
    Nurses tut-tut in unison: “oooh! noooo!”
    Me: “what?? is that bad?”

    At that time in my life I was definitely a type “B” personality. I became more of an “A” in college, and am now gravitating more towards “B” in an effort to live a less stressful life :)
    I admit that I was for a time very much type D, but only due to circumstances caused by my UC. I needed a counselor to get me out of that! I strongly recommend seeking therapy for anyone who wants to learn healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety. It can only help! After 2 years of the lowest self esteem I have ever experienced, I finally feel joy again in the day to day. I still have anxiety, but I have learned to recognize it and reason myself out of it.

    The best of luck to all of you in dealing with your anxiety and stress!!

  17. I definitely fall into this category since being diagnosed with UC. It has sucked the life out of my personality as I am constantly worried about a flare when I am around new people. Of course, the more this happens the more I stress myself out which actually increases the likelihood of getting a flare for me. Almost a self fulfilling prophecy with that. I am very glad though this type of stuff is being researched. Thanks for posting.

  18. Yes. This all sounds familiar. Ever since being diagnosed in ’07, I was struggling with a way more negative outlook on everything. Anger, anxiety, depression, it took me a couple if years to realise I had changed in these ways.
    Was scheduled for surgery in 2010 but narrowly avoided it. That was followed by 18 months of humira, followed by fecal transplant early 2012.
    Currently managing stress with reflexology and homeopathy and currently symptom free using salofalk and mezavant.
    Great website Adam.
    Keep up the good work.
    – Aido, Dublin, Ireland. Type D!

    1. Yeah Aido!! for being symptom free with what you’re doing.

      And yeah for Dublin, Ireland!!! (Would love to be hanging there right now)

      Keep up the positive spirit, and wishing you a great 2014!


  19. This I can surely relate to. I’ve had UC for 5 years now and in the first couple years it didn’t effect my personality too much. But now after an increased work schedule and what feels like more pressure to keep up with everything while dealing with UC my personality has changed a lot and I’ve been trying to understand why. I get social anxiety being around groups of people and have bouts of depression where I want nothing to do with the world I live in. I’ve become more irritable and less enjoyable to be around, even for my fiancee. It’s a constant battle to control my emotions but everyday I’m learning.

  20. I have a fraternal twin sister who does not suffer from UC, but fits the Type D personality to a tee! I, on the other hand, do not. I personally think there is more to it than these 5 bullets.

    Studies indicate that the inflammation in UC involves a complex interaction of factors: the genes the person has inherited, the immune system, and something in the environment. Foreign substances (antigens) in the environment may be the direct cause of the inflammation, or they may stimulate the body’s defenses to produce an inflammation that continues without control. Researchers believe that once the UC patient’s immune system is “turned on,” it does not know how to properly “turn off” at the right time. As a result, inflammation damages the intestine and causes the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases..

    Research sponsored by CCFA has led many scientists to believe that ulcerative colitis may be the result of an interaction of a virus or bacterial infection of the colon and your body’s natural immune system response. Normally, your immune system will cause temporary inflammation to combat an illness or infection, and then the inflammation will be reduced as you regain health. In people with ulcerative colitis, however, this inflammation can persist long after your immune system should have finished its job.

    My heritage is French, German, (Alsace) and Irish. My red headed twin is more Irish looking than I, who sport dark, thick hair and features that would be associated with Jewish decent,and ethnic group known to have higher incidence of UC. As a teenager, I had a recurring case of strep throat until I had my wisdom teeth removed. At 17 I contracted mononucleosis and therefore carry the Epstein Barr virus for the rest of my life. My twin did not suffer any of these illnesses, which very likely could have triggered an immune response that never “shut off”. I became a cigarette smoker at the age of 19 and continued until age 31. At 34, while pregnant with my 2nd child, I became symptomatic for the first time and was diagnosed with UC. I suffered for about 5 years until I discovered the link between diet and remission for me.

    All this said, I think this study lacks numbers and way over simplifies a character type. I would love to know why it included women only. I can’t imagine a woman living under the suppression of Iranian rule and lacking civil rights wouldn’t be anxious, depressed, angry, phobic, etc.? While I did have a pretty stressful childhood full of worry and fear, I am considered by those who know me to be very agreeable, unless I disagree with you ;). I definitely feel very comfortable and confident in expressing myself and am always looking on the bright side. “This beats ALS” is my mantra when I’m suffering. I have often been described as intense and I think this may be more of a common thread for folks with UC. Neuroticism indicates individual differences in the tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, anger, and feeling of guilt. We may have in common that we are deep thinking and serious minded about what we care about. Many, like me, are very athletic and often participate in competitive environments, indicating a level of personal intensity in what we choose to do. Perhaps due to the intensity factor, we may feel things more deeply, we may have a harder time “letting go” of thoughts or outcomes and may even have control issues that perhaps are manifestations of the childhood experiences that created our personality traits in the first decade of life. It’s a two way process; just as the gut affects the mind, the mind affects the gut. However, I know people who, like me, may be neurotic to varying degrees, but do not have UC or other intestinal disorders. As well, a neurotic or intense mindset can be associated with disease in general, not just IBD.

    In summation, I believe the reason that no cause for UC has been determined to date is because there is no one cause. I think it is a disease that affects people to a varied degree, and is one born of synergism, rather than one that simply affects people who fit into a mindset box. Does a bad UC flare cause you to feel socially inhibited, crabby, less engaging, and generally CRAPPY? Does it lower your QOL? Of course it does. For me, attention to overall immune system health through diet, exercise and meditation has worked magic on my UC. However, If I let one component of this balancing act go, I usually become symptomatic again.

    One more thing to add to this long winded post. Personality is so much more complicated than this simple study indicates. My therapy consisted of an intense study of the Enneagram, a study of the 9 personality types, the ways in which each type integrates and disintegrates, and the idea that we all have an aspect of each type within us. My work with a therapist with this study helped me to better understand myself and others and to learn to recognize patterns of behavior and manage or empathize with them. I am far less intense today and believe that this has been a major factor in my enjoyment of long term remission and good health.

  21. Some of this relates to me however some of it not…

    I can be negative about myself but not others or situations. I am actually extremely positive, mostly around other people, probably too much, which fits in with this.

    I think you need to just take it with a grain of salt and maybe just let it remind you that we all need to express our feelings whether they are good or bad sometimes and not hold it in. I think it’s the non-communication of our feelings that could possibly be a reason for reoccurring flares in some people (i.e. relating somewhat to the ‘stress’ factor we hear about all the time with UC.

    But great to see other people and countries are taking the initiative to seek out other reasons for this life altering disease :)

  22. Thank you Adam for the work you do to help folks with UC. My son David was diagnosised with it in May. I supported him in his first flare with three visits to the ER and nine days in the hospital. It was intense and so hard to see him so sick. He is recovering now here at home and is too fatigued to go back to work. He’s an electrician. This post answered my number one question! What emotional energy could play a part in this disease? I like some people believe that emotional energy can cause distress in the body. And a change of that emotional energy can help heal a person. Your article describes my son David exactly – since he was a boy. I believe he inherited his personality from my Dad’s side of the family and that side has digestive issues and lots of anger and revenge. But lots of artists, poets and good cooks! This info has been important to me. Thank you for posting it. And to everyone who posted as well. This is my first post :-)

    1. THank you Mary for sharing what is goign on with your thinking and your son’s UC. Thanks for being a part of the site, and wishing you and David the best in the future:))

  23. I don’t know that I buy the claim that certain personality types are more likely to have UC. It is more complicated than that. Nature, nurture and all that this entails. But whatever the tipping point is– those combination of factors that triggers this sh$&&@tty disease for each individual — certainly would tend to make anyone suffering more neurotic. I’ve always viewed myself as a positive, motivated but not crazy ambitious person. Like a Type A- or B + –the type who thinks about Marathons but runs 2 miles and calls it a day. But since getting this disease and suffering flares lasting for close to a year at a time, my behavior has changed. I’m still friendly and outgoing but if nature calls I have to be prepared to find a restroom asap. This is normally manageable but often takes effort on my part to practice relaxation breathing to buy time to get to the restroom. But obviously this dependency limits what you feel you can do. I can’t go for a jog when flaring for fest if disaster. This is the part that I hate– the QOL sacrifice. That IS depressing but I don’t actually dwell on it. Bringing me to the original point that I don’t buy into the type D claim. I refuse to become this!!

  24. Hi there Adam,

    Thanks again for the wonderful contribution your site provides in coordinating information, experiences and opinions for us UC people of the world!

    I am intrigued by the discussion this research has generated.
    As a counsellor with a Masters degree, I want to say that there is no evidence of causality shown by this research, rather it just shows what we all know, that having UC can make everyday life tougher and that impacts on how we feel and think!!

    Any experience we have will impact on our worldview, and yes long term, our personality as well, either positively or negatively. Our brain lives in our body and the blood brain cross over is immediate because the brain does not have a lymphatic system to protect it (think of alcohol!) – hence upsets in our digestive tract impact our brain – it’s not rocket science.

    There is sound research stacking up that indicates the evidence of diet on many forms of mental illness – should that surprise us? What we put into our body and how our body works (or doesn’t work!) has an impact on our brain and visa versa.

    I want to say – don’t be so hard on yourselves all those who identified neurotic personality traits! The word neurotic is so loaded (especially for women) dating back to Freud’s day – and is in itself a negative concept!!! I bet if we gave any one of those researchers a dose of UC for say 6 months there would be a good chance they would appear more neurotic than before – it’s also a very subjective assessment don’t you think?

    I also see that offering compassion to clients in just one session can make an almost different person walk through my door the next week. We are defined by the relationships we have – with our family, our work colleagues, our culture, ourselves – our bodies and our minds.

    A personality type is a small part of the equation of the UC story – any research that comes from a blame schema (even unintentionally) is not helpful for a UC patient. A positive supportive environment and relationship with self, is. I see this research falling into the very way of thinking it is labelling!!

    Yes therapy can definitely help you like yourself better and that will ease your stress and allow you to cope better with a ‘shitty’ disease. There are many many reasons why a person may have become a’ type D’ personality to cope with the life challenges sent their way – blame could be one!

    A happy healthy day to all. tess

  25. I was hospitalized over Christmas (2015) with ischemic colitis (what’s up with my body just deciding not to perfuse my colon with blood?). I was horrified that my body could ‘turn’ on me this way. After a cursory review of meds available, I researched online for people who are healing using alternative methods, and I now have an aloe juice/tapioca flour/L-glutamine/colostrum/psyllium shake that I take with Curcumin, bee propolis, Vit D3, krill oil + VSL3. So far, so good. Plus I wear pull-ups from Walgreens (otherwise known as incontinence briefs ) which you can’t see under my pants, so I don’t have to worry about finding a bathroom, which decreases stress when I’m at work or away from home. There’s no panic cuz I know I have a back-up (oh such a bad pun). So far, I haven’t ‘needed ‘ them. I don’t know how anyone can help being a tad neurotic with this going on! I agree with everyone about the chicken and egg thing. I thank Kristin for the enneagram link (don’t you just know I will check it out), Col for the Valerian Root suggestion, and Sharon for the insight about the culture of women in the country this study was done. To Toby I would suggest not to let others define you – if the shoe doesn’t fit don’t wear it. Graham lee – the ‘fight or flight’ comment really hit home. Jini Patel says that most people with UC don’t feel safe in the world. That resonates strongly with me. (Check her out online, she’s another awesome resource: And Colleen – what do people do with their issues? They find a good counselor! I did. Our issues tend to manifest in our bodies if we don’t address them. Finally, Adam – when I first found this site and there you were with your armful of TP, I laughed out loud, and knew I’d found a good place for information and support, so whatever type you are, rock on buddy.

  26. I forgot to mention in the above post that the only beverage I drink is a concoction of marshmallow root and licorice spice tea. Put water (room temp is fine) in a container, add 1Tbsp of root per 8 oz, and 1 Stash brand licorice spice tea bag per every 16 oz. Let it sit in the fridge overnight, strain it and you’re good to go. It coats the gut and tastes great (not so much w/out the tea bags.) I use a 48oz jug, use 6 Tbsp root and 3 tea bags. I buy Frontier Natural Products, Organic Cut & Sifted Marshmallow Root, 16 oz (453 g) for ~$20USD from I always have a jug brewing! I sip on it all day (~32oz/day) and can tell when I’ve been too busy to drink. A friend with interstitial cystitis turned me on to it. It really helps!

  27. I definitely think there is something to this. Diagnosed recently with UC late in life after a particularly stressful few years, and taking nsaids didn’t help. I’m an introvert, overly sensitive, and worry about a lot more as I get older, but am now learning to get a handle on it through meditation, exercise, and breathing. I don’t notice diet affects me as much as feeling anxious. I see a lot of young people develop it when they are in college, a very stressful time too.

  28. This doesn’t relate to me at all!
    I am the least neurotic and most extrovert person going. And I’m female with UC :)

  29. I don’t think I’m particularly negative, or introverted, but I’ve been told many times that I’m ‘highly strung’ emotionally, I feel things strongly: I’m tend to be very happy, very excited or very upset. I’ve definitely been through a stressful 3 or so years at work/in life, with my UC diagnosis just 2 months ago after 10 months of symptoms. I’m trying to slow down and calm down (actually, I’ve HAD to slow down, with the extreme exhaustion that seems to go with a UC flare) and stress/anxiety definitely makes everthing worse…*trying not to worry* often turns into *worrying about worrying* haha. Really need to find a way to remission…

  30. The base and sacral chakras are affected by UC – War, famine, natural disasters, and any events that threaten our basic survival, are all recorded within energies of the first chakra (base chakra)
    Whereas chrons disease is likely to be an imbalance of the solar plexus or sacral chakra.

    When our roots and ground is not solid we will create illness within the base chakra. Mine originated from not having anything solid to stand on, no job, no place to live and my father dying of cancer – the stress of which created my UC.

    Managed to reach remission after a long time. Then my landlady was selling my flat after I had decided to become self employed and hey presto UC flare again.

    So I am very aware of how stress, and in particular certain types of stress affect me.

    People being nasty at work didn’t flare my UC, crashing my car didn’t affect it, splitting up with my boyfriend didn’t.

    Just that base and support,roof over my head, finances causes my UC. Which is the base/root/first chakra which is red in colour.

    Those with Crohn’s disease won’t be affected by natural disasters because their disease stems from the sacral and solar plexus which are caused by other more personal stresses. Feelings, emotions and a sense of purpose.

    Have a look at this website for details on the chakra system – when you know the root cause of your problems you can work out how to try to avoid getting into those situations that are likely to cause a flare.

  31. I do believe that this research has some basis. The extent may vary but I do believe that there’s a bit of D type personality in me. And from my personal experience I do believe that strong anxiety or stress does greatly modulate your GI tract response and contributes in exacerbating and aggravating the symptoms of UC.

  32. adam thanks for sharing about type d personality , its all like me, i have lots of anger nd anxiety but i behaves like normal. I cant explore my feelings just bcz others may get hurt by my words or anger. I think my uc nd my stress are linked to each other. Thnks for telling about d type personality i am one of them… Thnkss

  33. I thought I was a type A personality, but after reading this, maybe I’m more type D. I tend to respond to environmental stimuli more readily, negatively, and quickly than the average person. I pick up on minor nuances that deeply affect me rather than just letting them go without much attention. This could range from irritation in someone’s poor grammar to someone’s slow driving to someone’s lack of consideration, politics– not being able to find safe food in any restaurant anymore–anything. I’m just constantly annoyed.

    I often feel sorry for myself. Mornings are pretty bad with needing to stay close to a toilet. It’s not that my ulcerative colitis is severe right now–or even out of remission, but I do need two or three visits to the toilet each morning, with a somewhat sense of urgency, and it’s usually not healthy-looking stool. After getting through the first few chapters of the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Intestinal Health through Diet, and after reading about the fact that, with UC, intestinal cells’ microvilli are damaged and the enzymatic responses that normally process nutrients are problematic for those with inflammatory bowel disease, my anxiety shot up through the roof. I think that being faced with the reality of needing to make permanent changes to my diet, which is already pretty healthy, is like suffering a loss– a death. Since reading that chapter, I have had bouts of crying. And I rarely cry.

    On The Amazing Race last episode, teams were making baguettes in France, which made me wonder why the French can eat pizza, croissants, baguettes, and pasta… gluten… but we can’t. I did some research, and I found that in Italy and in some parts of France, the wheat is different and much more wholesome and nutritious. Whereas, here in the United States, Roundup and other pesticides make our wheat extremely unhealthy. Our wheat causes disease. One more thing to be intensely angry about.

    I think the worst aspect of inflammatory bowel disease is the isolation and loneliness. I look attractive and sound very intelligent, but I hold up, alone, for fear that I am too weak to “perform” in a social situation. Sad. And very boring. Life has boiled down to watching TV, food prep, and playing video games. Not a life at all.

  34. This will all drop in to place one day though it already seems like I’ve waited a lifetime for the solution we all need.

    Having had more than my share of itis’s has helped me see this perhaps more broadly. Those of us who are stressy and a little angry/grumpy (and I think we are many in UC) have primed and eager immune systems raring to go. Many of us in a constant state of fight or flight. I believe this is in our nature but you can also add (to what makes us more vulnerable) traumatic experiences (particularly childhood), antibiotic use, appendix removal (the safe house for our gut bacteria), being an ex smoker and today’s diet to name a few.

    It is interesting that if you step away from medication for a moment you find the natural things that help are foods that reduce inflammation and the removal of foods that increase inflammation. The same can be said of stress, introducing yoga/mindfulness/sensible exercise and the reduction of stress wherever possible.

    For the last 50 years or more we have decreased the quality of the food we eat, taken antibiotics and gained ever more stressful lives. In evolutionary terms we or society on our behalf has interfered so negatively that we are now it seems heading down a dangerous path. It is very hard with our lives but I try wherever possible to get back to basics and reverse some of the wrong paths I have taken.

    As we know this is a very tricky illness to deal with. Slowly but surely developments are being made though I get far more excited about any leap forward in understanding than I do about some new wonder drug.

    1. I agree Graham. (Lovely to ‘see’ you again, by the way).

      I am also type A…took many antibiotics for years as a young child for bad tonsils, took accutane for acne as a young adult, have my appendix removed in my 30s and was promptly diagnosed with UC shortly thereafter.

      How could I NOT get UC, I ask? Lol.

      I also am always looking with hope to the new natural solutions that emerge, and never to some new wonder drug. Drugs are no way to treat bowel conditions.

      I have not taken medications for almost 15 years and I never will again. They are body killers in all senses of the word.

  35. Great to hear from you Bev!

    How could YOU not get UC indeed!! Some of us know how we got here and that is understanding in itself but finding the way out, the journey of a lifetime?

    I swear, if we, one day are blessed with the solution we should all get together and celebrate. What a day that would be!

    There are dark days but we must all, have hope.


  36. Absolutely Graham! Absolutely.

    I forgot to mention that I also smoked ciggies for 20 years and of course never had UC until I quit along with all of those other factors.

    Heck I am the poster ‘child’ for how to get UC!


  37. I Have found a way out. I’m in remission. I changed my diet, took mesalazine, reduced my stress levels, took the right supplements and did a lot of deep interpersonal work. Hey presto. But my UC was all about the journey and the life lessons it gave me. Hopefully it takes me into a journey to helping others.

    1. Thank you Graham.

      Wow, huh? All of the things they (we) are discovering now.

      Coulda shoulda woulda…I wish we had have known way back when.

      Cheers for that link.

  38. Hi everyone, yes I honestly believe that my anxiety has caused all my bowel symptoms over the last few years..Graham, I gave up cigs in 2016 that’s when all my trouble started! My Consultant agrees with me..I was diagnosed in May last year after colonoscopy..I just got worse after that really…Had steroids for 3 months, thought I was cured!! How naive was I!! Continued on Pentasa for 3 months…I got worse..took myself off them til last week and was started on Asacolon, the new version…on them a week, just hoping things improve…I know my anxiety is a big factor in all of this though, on Lexapro for yrs so maybe immune to it at this stage…would love to hear from you all..I live in West of Ireland and no support groups in my local town! Health and Happiness to you all..Sarah x

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