Prioritizing Emotional Well-Being When Faced With Ulcerative Colitis – Interview

Prioritizing Emotional Well-Being When Faced With Ulcerative Colitis – Interview

Recent Survey Showed Men and Women Experienced Impact of Living with Chronic Inflammatory Disease to a Different Degree.

Working, maintaining relationships, and juggling family responsibilities can be difficult while dealing with many chronic illnesses, and this can be especially true for those living with the potentially unpredictable nature of ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel condition also known as UC.

A global survey of 1,254 gastroenterologists and 2,100 adults

with a self-reported history of UC suggested both men and women experienced impacts on day-to-day life, including emotional wellbeing.

Most of those surveyed (84%) reported that UC can be mentally exhausting. Some reported feeling embarrassed (41%) or isolated (32%) during a flare, meaning a period of time where one experiences an increase in UC symptoms that is different than what you typically experience.1 The survey also found that men and women were impacted by the disease to a different degree.1 Despite the impacts, these topics may not always be addressed during medical appointments.1,2

With the added challenges of dealing with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic,

focusing on emotional wellbeing is more important than ever. It’s important for people living with the disease to know that being more open about how they are feeling, may help them work better with their healthcare team to manage their UC.

Join me in a recent interview with Laurie Keefer, PhD, a psychologist with Mount Sinai Hospital’s IBD Center in New York City who specializes in the psychosocial care of patients with chronic digestive diseases, most notably Crohn’s and UC, and Allyson, who is living with UC, to discuss the connection between UC and emotional wellbeing. Dr. Keefer and Allyson offer guidance for those living with UC to have more effective conversations with their healthcare team.

Listen to the entire interview here:

For more information, go to

Dr. Laurie BIO:

Dr. Laurie Keefer is an academic health psychologist and the Director for Psychobehavioral Research within the Division of Gastroenterology.  She specializes in the psychosocial care of patients with chronic digestive diseases, specifically inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.  Dr. Keefer came to Mount Sinai in January 2016 from Chicago, IL to lead a subspecialty medical home for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

The Mount Sinai IBD medical home, known as GRITT-IBD(TM) focuses on gaining resilience through transitions as they occur across the lifespan of patients living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.  Dr Keefer’s clinical and research interests are in the area of IBD disease self-management, gut-directed hypnotherapy, resilience, the psychosocial care needs of emerging adults with chronic disease, and cognitive-behavior therapy. She is a sought after speaker and mentor.  She chairs the Division of Psychogastroenterology within the Rome Foundation and is on the Council of the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society.


Allyson BIO

My name is Allyson and I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) in 2007 at the age of 29. In hindsight, I am certain I had symptoms that went undiagnosed for years, if not back to childhood. My diagnosis and progression of my UC were quite rapid and debilitating, resulting in being bedridden and hospitalized within less than a month. After 3 years of hospitalizations and a very poor quality of life, I made an emergent decision to have a 3-stage total colectomy. This process had profound impacts on my physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as self-image due to body changes, and I feel strongly about advocating for patients with UC. I feel I often went without a voice until I was able to learn to speak up for myself as I learned more about my UC. As there is no cure, I continue to manage my daily life is often challenging, or what would appear impossible situations to those without UC. I am resilient and strong in a way that I only learned through my UC journey. I live a fulfilling life that may require adjustments, and I am grateful for the opportunities to advocate. 

1 Data on file. Pfizer Inc, New York, NY. [UC Narrative Patient Survey. 2018.]

2 Data on file. Pfizer Inc, New York, NY. [UC Narrative Physician Survey. 2018.]





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Cynthia Tait

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