Ulcerative Colitis in Adults

Approximately one million people in the United States area have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC), an inflammatory bowel disease that is chronic for most of those affected.

A variety of treatment options exist to address the condition, including medications, surgery, and sometimes diet and lifestyle modifications.

How have those with UC utilized the internet to build community and share information?

Search Trends

The Trends Section provides an overview of some of the most recent and relevant topics that relate to particular health conditions.

It features a selection of the topics that have the fastest growing Google search interest across the last three months, and reflects the inquiries of patients, healthcare providers, scientists, and others who are invested in the topic.

This is valuable to understand people’s interests and concerns at the present moment, and often include the U.S. states that have the highest interest in a topic. 

Quilt.AI brings these trends to life through an analysis that incorporates both cultural and scientific lenses.

When people are looking to treat ulcerative colitis, what drugs do they think about?

What's trending on search for UC?

Search interest for meals and recipes for UC grew by 52.3% over the last 3 months, from April 2022 to June 2022.

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1. More are recognising the importance of dieting to keep UC in check

Ulcerative colitis is a disease with no definitive cure, but its symptoms can be reduced through lifestyle and diet changes. 

In the US, there is increasing interest in recipes for foods that can help suppress the disease, or at least alleviate its symptoms. 

These searches lead to articles and recipes for foods that are low-residue (low in fiber, therefore reducing stool output) and low-FODMAP (low in fermented carbohydrates that can aggravate GI symptoms).

2. Growing adoption of meal plans to control UC flares

As well as looking for recipes for specific dishes that can help with ulcerative colitis, people are also looking for diets and meal plans that can help keep the condition in check on an ongoing basis. 

These searches lead not just to meal plans, but also to shopping lists, both of which can help create a routine that alleviates suffering from ulcerative colitis. 

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Search interest for ‘ulcerative colitis diet’ grew by 22% over the last 3 months, from April 2022 to June 2022.

Search interest for ‘Ulcerative Colitis flare symptoms’ grew by 182% over the last 3 months, from April 2022 to June 2022.

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3. Increase in popularity of home tests for self diagnosing and monitoring UC

There was a steady and significant increase in interest in the symptoms of ulcerative colitis between April and June. 

UC is usually diagnosed using a sigmoidoscope to study the extent of bowel inflammation. However there is a growing popularity towards conducting at home testing and monitoring of their condition using CalproSmart Home, that allow detection at subclinical levels.

Alongside this, there has also been an increase in searches for “signs of UC flare up”,“reasons for UC flare up” and “food causing UC flare”.

4. UC drug searches are mostly for pain relief

There was a notable increase in searches for Remicade as a treatment for ulcerative colitis in June. This might be due to the high potency of the drug, and its significant side effects. 

In addition to Remicade, people are also actively searching for drugs like Humira and mesalamine, and other pain-management solutions like steroids and cannabis-based medicines.

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Search interest for Remicade medicine to treat UC grew by 22% over the last 3 months, from April 2022 to June 2022.

Search interest for Ulcerative Colitis and pregnancy grew by 200% over the last 3 months, from April 2022 to June 2022.

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5. UC and childbirth complications increasingly pose concern for expecting mothers

Interest in the intersection between ulcerative colitis and pregnancy increased significantly between April and June 2022. In particular, people were searching for information on the risks of UC in delivery, and how UC might affect natural childbirth.

People were also looking for forums on ulcerative colitis and pregnancy, indicating a specific need for support among UC sufferers who are or want to get pregnant.

Ulcerative Colitis in Culture

The Culture Section highlights emerging cultural trends, new products, and notable dialogue about a variety of health conditions. The purpose of this section is to zoom in on what has been happening within the cultural and professional landscape of a particular health condition–stories that are often missed by quantitative searches.

By featuring influential social media items, patient discourse, professional dialogue, product innovations, and impactful news items, this section illuminates the lived experiences of many patients, while also providing a snapshot of the developments happening around them. 

Here, Quilt.AI offers a detailed and nuanced perspective of what is new and what is meaningful.

1. Living with UC is not all “doom and gloom”

Some netizens are keen on giving ulcerative colitis a positive spin as they’ve accepted that there is no alternative to learning to live with this disease. People share the positive effects of this disease on their bodies, such as weight loss, on social media. Alongside this, they talk about the importance of self-love and self-care in making UC bearable. 

Brands, HCPs and organizations can learn from these posts to help better encourage patients in the clinical setting. 

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2. Positive personal experiences with UC drugs give courage to new patients

Some patients with ulcerative colitis are taking to social media to share their experiences with the medicines that help with the inflammation caused by the condition. They share their positive experiences with injection-based medications such as Humira and Stelara, and how their lives have changed due to these preventive anti-inflammatory injections. 

These types of posts are of great use to patients suffering from conditions like UC, as it can give them both hope and courage to go down a new treatment path. Drug brands should explore this type of content as a way of offering UC patients an additional believable source of information for their treatment options.

3.  More comprehensive financial support is critical for UC patients

Especially on Twitter, people are sharing their struggles with the financial aspects of accessing and staying on track with ulcerative colitis treatment. They talk about how UC makes it difficult for them to work and earn their own money.

Some use social media platforms to raise funds through donations, as well as to ask the government and insurance companies to assist more in UC treatment. 

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4. HCP intervention is beneficial for “anti-UC” diet recommendations

People are leveraging social media platforms to recommend anti-inflammatory diets that can help with ulcerative colitis symptoms. A few netizens are specifically promoting a non-vegetarian diet to help heal the disease completely.

This type of discourse on social media platforms would benefit greatly from expert guidance and contributions, as advice from non-HCPs may end up aggravating – rather than alleviating – symptoms. As well, platforms like TikTok and Instagram are ideal for this type of conversation as food and meals can be made to look both appetizing and easy-to-prepare.

5. Strong opportunity on social media for brands to support and connect with patients

People who have ulcerative colitis are sharing their journey with the disease on social media. These posts are meant to be motivational videos to keep morale high among other UC sufferers. Netizens also post gratitude videos for the people who have helped them survive this disease. 

A UC support community is present on almost all the leading social media platforms to guide and motivate people suffering through UC. Brands, HCPs and organizations can leverage these communities to better connect with patients, and to better understand the concerns and pain points that need to be addressed.