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Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis Message Board
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Old 11-30-2009, 03:48 AM   #1
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How can I treat my ulcerative colitis?

My stools for two weeks were just blood and liquid with the occasional small solids, so I had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy today. The doctor told me I have ulcerative colitis and that I could go back to the hospital next week to get medicine. He said they need a week to take a look at the results.

So that means another week of having these irritating, frequent bowel movements that produce nothing.

What can I do in the meantime to make myself more comfortable?

Also, I read the following here: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/colitis/
"About 25 to 40 percent of ulcerative colitis patients must eventually have their colons removed because of massive bleeding, severe illness, rupture of the colon, or risk of cancer."

Two or three years ago, I had a colonoscopy/endoscopy for a similar bowel issue, but I don't remember my diagnosis. I do remember that I had to take at least one medication though. I remember having to put a jolly rancher-sized suppository into my anus every night before I went to bed.

I'm 24, and I'm worried about the idea of having my colon removed. At the link above, it lists two methods: ileostomy and ileoanal anastomosis. Both methods sound extremely uncomfortable/inconvenient.

What can I do diet-wise, lifestyle-wise, and exercise-wise to prevent future outbreaks of ulcerative colitis or possibly the removal of my colon? I drink about 20 beers a month. I smoke about 3 cigarettes a week. I run three miles five days a week and lift weights three days a week. I eat an egg, rice, and seaweed for breakfast. At lunch I have traditional Korean food (because I'm living in Korea for a year from 9/2009-9/2010) which is usually rice, soup, kimchi (fermented vegetables), and assorted meats and seafood. For dinner, I usually have rice again, but my dinner food really varies. I just discovered the pasta section at the grocery store at the same time my bowel issue started, so for two weeks I've been having various pastas for dinner.

I understand beer and cigarettes are unhealthy in many ways (liver, lungs, throat, stomach, etc.) but how much do they contribute to bowel issues?

Colon problems run in my family. My parents have polyps removed every year, and my uncle died from colon cancer. I think my ulcerative colitis stems from two sources: hereditary and not getting enough fiber in my diet. With the exception of oranges, I've been getting virtually no fiber. I think I'll start eating a bowl of high fiber cereal every morning for breakfast. Is this advisable?

 
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:05 PM   #2
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Re: How can I treat my ulcerative colitis?

Hello there. I am 27 now and was diagnosed this year (was 26 at the time). I had very similar symptoms as you - blood and mucus with the occasional solids. A colonoscopy revealed very mild ulcerative colitis (if mine is mild, I'd hate to see what severe is). Anyways, I was put on rectal enemas nightly (Rowasa) and 1.2GM of Lialda (which I still take to this day). The Rowasa I discontinued after about 2 months, and it put me in remission until recently. Now my symptoms are returning after a bought with a stomach illnees in mid-November; my next GI appointment isn't until December 23rd, however.

My doctor told me diet has little to do with flare-ups, but eating fruits and vegetables can help. Staying away from caffeine is also a good idea, as is limiting alcohol use. Cigarette (tobacco) has been shown to actually reduce IBD sufferers' symptoms but it is not recommended as a use of treatment due to its life threatening side effects.

I also worry about one day having surgery to have my colon remove, but the only relief I get from having this disease is knowing it CAN be cured by surgery and that surgery for IBD is getting to a point where you aren't hindered from daily activities (research J-pouch surgery). 40% of people with UC will have to have surgery, and most includes the removal of the entire colon.

I also exercise and eat well (I'm a weightlifter). It helps when I'm doing it. It seems like my UC flares during this time of the year. Most likely you'll be put on oral meds with some rectal meds to directly treat the inflammation and stop the bleeding. The rectal meds work wonders, believe me; they're just very expensive if you don't have insurance (and sometimes WITH insurance).

Expect a colonoscopy every 2-3 years, especially when you have a direct link to colorectal cancer in your family. My father has colitis, too, but has only had 2 flares in his entire life and he's 65 now. He has never been on treatment for it, and I have no colorectal cancer episodes in my bloodline.

Good luck. If you'd like to discuss this further, don't hesitate to PM me since I'm still fairly new to all this, too.

 
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