Skip to content

Emotional Trauma That May be the Underlying Cause of the UC

Alyssa with twin

(that’s me and my twin sister, I’m on the left)

Hi Adam,

Thank you so much for all of your helpful emails, information, and encouragement. I’ve been a member of your newsletter for only a few weeks, but I’m very glad you have built this resource for those of us struggling with UC. I’m not sure if you want people emailing you directly – if not just let me know and I’ll go through whichever channel you prefer in the future.

I just felt like reaching out because your email was so poignant today(from the free newsletter). I have been struggling UC for 2 years (officially diagnosed last May), and I’ve been in an active flare up for a full year…but who’s counting….:P I definitely have felt very low, angry, frustrated, sad, and most of all hopeless as I’ve tried a lot of things and this flare up will not seem to budge. I’ve been on Entyvio for 2 months and was very hopeful at first, but I have not seen any improvement yet. I am in the middle of negotiating some work accommodations at my new work place to help on the days when things are really bad, and it’s definitely a hard and scary place to be.

I have sought out other UC’ers through the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, there was a local support group I attended once. It was nice to talk with others who understand and to know I wasn’t along, but honestly their stories about having surgery and everything they’ve been through scared me a little – I’m not to the point of having surgery and hope to never get there.

Emotional Elements of Ulcerative Colitis

I don’t want to be a downer, but that is unfortunately the reality sometimes with this illness, isn’t it? I’m trying to stay hopeful though, and to see this as an opportunity for growth when I can. Thank you so much for listening – from reading your website, I know you understand what I’m saying. I’m getting more serious about investigating possible emotional trauma/blockages that may be the underlying cause of the Ulcerative Colitis and have started going to therapy specifically for this. I’m wondering if you’ve run across anyone else who has tried to address UC from that angle?

Again, thank you for reading and listening. I appreciate everything you’ve done for those of us living in this tough position. I also find it inspiring that you’ve utilized your experience with this illness and created something so useful. Your encouragement and reminders that we’re not alone really are helpful.

Have a great weekend,



18 thoughts on “Emotional Trauma That May be the Underlying Cause of the UC”

  1. Alyssa, I’m sure there are more of us non surgery UC’ers than those who have had the surgery. You will find your path and are wise to view UC as an opportunity for you. I feel blessed by the condition as it has set me on the path to overall better health. I manage mine through vigilant diet (gluten, sugar, dairy, processed food free) and nutritional supplements and herbs. It’s a lot of trial and error but you will find what works for you. Never give up. Stress, emotional trauma and sleep deprivation significantly contribute to flare ups. All of this we have the ability to change as we journey on the road to better health. Your story moved me especially because the picture I posted is with my sister too. Here’s to supportive sisters!

    1. Mary, thanks so much for your words of encouragement and strength, it’s appreciated! Sisters are definitely a gift! :)

  2. Hi, Alyssa:

    I have UC for around 3 years now, for a while it was under control by medicine. Fully understand your fear and frustration, it won’t go away easily and it may not go away at all, we have to face it. SCD may not fit me but you can give it a try. Adam’s book has all the details. we are all here for you and support you.


  3. “I’m wondering if you’ve run across anyone else who has tried to address UC from that angle?”

    Hello Alyssa,
    I run in to more and more of them! I have been dealing with UC for 12 years. It was hell, up until a few years ago, I became more “spiritual”, I started to take on the view of UC that it is some sort of journey, my soul leading me to some deeper calling. I do find that there are certain aspects of my personality, habits, belief systems that cause me to not be able to allow for perfect health to come into my life. I have learned many things about myself and life that I would not have been able to learn otherwise, and some days I’m even thankful I got sick (only some, most days it still sucks! :)). I’m still not exactly where I want to be with my health, but ever since I took that new view, I have felt guided by events that go on around me, things have been easier, I feel comforted that I’m on my way. I hope that you learn whatever it is you are being called to learn, that your journey will get easier and easier. <3


    1. Stephanie,
      Thank you so much for your comments and sharing some of your experience. Your words are very encouraging and inspiring to me. I think it’s amazing that you can find the strength to be thankful for the sickness some days. I wish you well as you continue on your soul’s journey! :)

  4. Emotional trauma could be the trigger. But after that even if you have recovered emotionaly the disease is here to stay.Does not go away.Waiting for the cure that seems to be eluding the scientists.

  5. Hi Allyssa, I think it’s great that you are using your experience of this disease to your advantage. I have had it for 8 years and have suffered my worst flares after periods of stress and emotional trauma (mum getting cancer and personal problems in my relationship being the major catalysts). I have tried to remove stress from my life, have also been to therapy and have acupuncture and reflexology quite regularly. I project managed our recent house renovation and altho it was really enjoyable, it was also stressful and the reason (I believe) that i’m going through a minor flare right now. There are days where it really gets to me and we all have every right to have down days! Then I have to tell myself to pull myself together and get on with it! We don’t need to let this horrible illness control us but if we can understand what can help relieve our symptoms on a personal level, then we’re halfway there. Really hope that helps!

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Lilia! I appreciate hearing about your experience, and hope that you find your way out of the minor flare up very soon. :)

  6. Hi Allyssa,

    Maybe you can try out some probiotics. When I had my first colitis flare last year, I went on all natural regimen which seemed to help to some extent, but then addition of VSL#3 DS probiotics did the trick for me.

    I recently came to know about functional doctors who go to the root cause of the problem of autoimmune diseases, and they have systematic approach to help out. You can try find one in your area at, pick one with great reviews, and try out.

    1. Are you willing to share what your source of inflammation was determined to be? I’m considering starting to see a FM doctor, but have hesitations because the field is rather unregulated in terms of scope of practice, training/education requirements, etc but I am very curious and motivated about the idea of getting to the root cause of the inflammation and addressing that instead of the symptom-treating/baindaid approach.

    2. Hi Kaushal, thank you for the suggestions. Yes, I have tried probiotics, I have tired maaaaany things including an osteopathic doctor, which I believe is similar to a functional medicine doctor. The first time I had a flare and went to a naturopath, the diet changes and supplements (including probiotics) worked for me, but this second time around nothing I’ve tried has seemed to help. It may be worth a shot to see if there are any functional medicine doctors in my area though, since I’ve recently moved. :)

  7. Dear Alyssa,

    Thank you again for writing in, and for allowing me to publish your email as a posting here for others to read.

    And…thanks for sharing a picture of you and your sister!(for all others writing…PICTURES are the best, not required, but for sure BETTER)

    I hope you and your family are finding some relaxing times this weekend. And more than anything, I hope you are feeling some hope in your life that you most certainly had, have, and will continue to have much to look forward to no matter what UC throws your way.

    Maybe it is something that comes with more hours behind the wheel of the UC dragon, but I definitely think it is possible for each and everyone of us to overcome the mental challenges that living with something as strange as UC dish out to us.

    Quite interesting what you mentioned about the Crohns and COlitis Foundation. I too attended one “seminar” back in my early early days after getting diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Maybe it was back in the very end of 2008 or super early 2009. And, I too found it an enviornment which wasn’t super interesting for me. Sitting in a big room with rows of chairs with my wife and dad and listening to some doctors go on about my disease at the time wasn’t what I was looking for. (Now, that said, it is a great resource for many people I think, just wasn’t my cup of tea..)

    ONe of your questions I found most interesting and want to provide my ideas/rambles for you:

    ” I’m wondering if you’ve run across anyone else who has tried to address UC from that angle?”

    Yes, I think there are many a UC’ers who have tried to address UC with some forms or another of getting our brains in a happier place, maybe stress free (or reduced stress) or other. Meditation, simply taking a vacation (or break from the normal lifestyle we live daily), heck, even re-evaluating the people in your life and the relationships we/you have to find out what might work best for your body etc…

    I think this is all great. There are people I’ve communicated with who have found success from making relatively large changes to their lifestyle/mental-well being, and there are of course stories where changes or time spent looking into this turned out not to change the colitis symptoms.

    The good news is we are all unique, and what works for one may or may not work for all. That is clear, and I think that the gastroenterologist doctors, the Food and Drug Administrations, and of course the Ulcerative Colitis Champions of the world know this too.:)

    So..what to do,

    Of course all up to you.

    But, I think if you have an interest in the mental angle like you mentioned, I would dive into it.

    My own advice would be to consider anything and everything a possibility for either helping YOU and your disease, or potentially not. You for sure wouldn’t be the first person to come up with a strategy that works for you and your body, and I for sure wouldn’t be the first person who would want to hear from you afterwards:))))

    Best to you, and wishing you a happy 2017,


  8. Adam – thank you for your encouragement, and you’re very welcome!! I have appreciated the comments. I think you’re right – part of the work is to overcome the mental challenges, the ups and downs, and I think that would make things so much easier, even symptoms stick around. There may be something to examining patterns of stress and relationships as well.

    Yes, I agree. For me, going to a support group is not worth it to me unless it’s a place to find hope and possible solutions. The one I attended was in a hospital which I did not like at all – I spend enough time in doctor’s offices!

    You are right – this really is a very personal illness that shows up in a unique way for everyone. It definitely looks to me to be a mysterious disease – but one that will hopefully present opportunities for growth, self-learning and positive changes.

    I will be spending time diving into the mental/emotional side of this illness and will report back any findings, in case they are helpful to others. :)

  9. Hi Alyssa,

    I actually a newbie to this too. It can be quite overwhelming at first and at times super frustrating. I’m going into my second year with my UC and it seems like every month I learn something new about it. After 2 years with my UC, I am finally in remission. I understand your frustration with such a long flare up but don’t be scared! For me being so scared and frustrated made my symptoms much worse and it made it harder to find the right medicine for me.

    Anyways I wanted to ask if maybe I could email you some questions? I am doing a school project and I would love to ask you some questions about your experience with UC and finding support groups.

  10. Hi Astrid – Thank you for your comment! I am glad to hear that you have found remission after struggling with UC for a few years. That gives me hope. :) Sure, you can email me with any questions you have. My email is I look forward to hearing from you!

  11. Hi Allyssa,

    I was diagnosed 17 years ago at age 32 but I think I’ve had Ulcerative tive Colitis since I was at least a teenager. I applaud your taking this proactive approach to maintaining your mental health along with your digestive health. I have just one caution for you. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that every flare is caused by emotional stress. Physical stress can also play a factor (hot humid summer days trigger flares. For me, even with air-conditioning). Also, because the gut has some of the same chemicals as the brain, digestive issue can cause mental stress anxiety and depression. I’ve had times when everything is going great, nothing gets me down, start to flare oh well just time meals and rest to allow work and activities then bam, anxiety rears it’s ugly head followed closely by depression. So, do not blame yourself if you start to flare. It’s OK to self assess, was I worried about something, was the a crisis whatever. But if your answer is nope, everything’s been good accept that. I used to blame myself because I couldn’t control my emotions. That doesn’t help. If I am depressed, I address it but I don’t obsess over it. I hope this makes sense

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.