Living with ulcerative colitis...
Play • 12 min
Living with ulcerative colitis (UC) can make working, maintaining relationships and juggling family responsibilities difficult. A global survey of 1,254 gastroenterologists and 2,100 adults with a self-reported history of UC revealed both men and women experienced the impact of UC on day-to day life, including emotional wellbeing.1

Now, with the added challenges of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on emotional wellbeing is more important than ever.

Laurie Keefer, PhD, who is 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 ulcerative colitis (UC). Allyson, who has a history of UC, to discuss the emotional impact of UC and share tips for those living with UC on how to have more effective conversations with their healthcare team. Both Dr. Keefer and Allyson have been compensated by Pfizer to appear in this interview today.

Before we start, it is important to note that results from the UC Narrative are not representative of all UC patients, and only reflect responses of those who took the survey.

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.


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 was quite rapid and debilitating, resulting in being bed ridden 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 of 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 in 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.

Interview courtesy: Pfizer
for video and more info, go to
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