Saturday, October 24, 2020

Treating a Severe Flare up with Diet In Ulcerative Colitis

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I never had luck treating any of my flare ups with diet but I see people here who seem to get into remission with diet alone. I was wondering, are these people experiencing severe flare ups or more mild ones? Severe means going 10+ times a day with lots of blood and mucus, D, anemia, extreme urgency, getting up in the middle of the night to use the toilet multiple times…I have severe UC but keep it under control with Lialda and Canasa by dieting. My GI is also a fan of the SCD and he has good results with it, especially for CD. I also do low sulfides, too (no wine, cured meats and cruciferous veggies).

Morning: 2 boiled eggs and SCD yogurt with VSL#3 and toppings (berries, banana, cinnamon, freeze dried black raspberries and raw manuka honey).

lunch: beef or chicken soup with veggies (carrots, onions, spinach, celery, peas) and 1 piece of fruit, now an orange

Snack: roasted chicken or smoked salmon, raw cheddar cheese or parmigiano-reggiano with some cherry tomatoes or red pepper and another piece of fruit (whatever is in season, now an apple)

Dinner: protein (roasted chicken, salmon, pork, steak, liver) with roasted veggies (green beans, beets, asparagus or tomatoes) If I crave something sweet, I usually bake apples with honey. When I eat out, I have some protein and veggies or sushi (sashimi). I’m eating all the major food groups and don’t think I’m missing much by skipping grains and sugar.

Yes my UC was severe. It was never really under control in the 10 years I was on meds with no diet modification, I just adjusted my behavior to accommodate it because none of the pharmacy drugs did anything for me. Besides countless BM’s per day I alternated between being overweight and underweight during the course of a year with no diet mod. Looking back I can see that I used constipation as a tool to get me through some days. The first time I tried diet modification (and I have tried it several times in different versions over the years) my flare was so bad that the only food my gut would accept was chicken, eggs and bread. I have since discovered that gluten is one cause of irritation to my gut and much, much later when I quit gluten my bleeding stopped. At that time I could not see any improvement in my UC due to diet. Perhaps the flare was too bad or maybe the diet wasn’t juuuust right. My past symptoms were heavy bleeding, continuous D, inability to sleep through night due to urgency, inability to talk on the telephone without urgency, tenesmus almost always, not being able to stand in a store’s checkout line unless I was first in line. I used to sleep in the living room so I wouldn’t disturb my spouse with constant bathroom trips all night.

Today none of that is true and is totally due to diet modification. I was taking the same drug Balsalazide before I started diet mod. with no improvement and knew that Remicade or Humira were next, so I gave diet one last try. This time I got some early positive results which gave me encouragement to keep trying. It has not been a straight line path to success but I continue to get better and back to normal function. Even this week I have seen improvement, this time due to stopping 2 supplements: Vitamin D 5000 and Turmeric. Although I’ve been taking both for some time I could tell something wasn’t right so I stopped first one then the other. Yep, better BM’s than before. My PCP told me that VitD can cause loose stools and that is true. I will get out more in the sun instead to get my D.

I would suggest starting with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet as I did but pay attention to your gut. It never hurts to remove more types of food from your diet than SCD allows. I have been back and forth with the SCD yogurt but do better without it. My sig. explains what I eat and I am pretty hard-a** about it most days. But being human I allow some cheating with not much payback now that I have healed. Lately I’ve paid attention to sulfites (eliminating them) and that is a good idea for my gut. No wine, for example. On SCD they allow hard liquor but I can’t figure out what to mix vodka with cause I can’t drink juice or soda and can’t deal with “straight” (yuk). Vodka and carrot juice? 🙁 I really feel in control of my life and my bodily functions unlike the first 10 years of UC. My GI doc doesn’t even hassle me about getting a c-scope anymore because I am doing so well. I think she keeps waiting for me to regress and is surprised that I haven’t (I’m guessing most UC patients are on a spiral of ever stronger drugs).

For me, my symptoms were like a roller coaster. Had very bad symptoms, severe urgency, weight loss, bleeding, several trips to the bathroom to pass mucous mostly, slight fever, chills, severe pain just before, during and especially after a BM. had to lie down on bed to recover. Was pretty well house bound at various intervals of my flare ups. Rowasa would help with the symptoms. No other drug seemed to help, just make it worse, and I tried more than I care to remember. This roller coaster of being well/not well lasted for 8 years.  Had probably 7+ scopes in my life, some of which my doctor said my insides looked like they had gone through a meat grinder, had 5 benign polyps removed. It seemed everytime I moved to a new house, I would get sick again. I moved alot in the first 5 years of my marriage. As I reflect back, each house I moved in had water damage or damp or moldy basements. I was also on birth control pills for a long time (which allows yeast to proliferate), and was given antibiotics in my teen years and I suspect after the delivery of my first child. I had high group B Strep, but can’t specifically remember if I was given antibiotics. (My symptoms first appeared within months of my first baby). I also loved bread, and other high carb foods such as pasta, sweets and potatoes. ( a possible clue that fungus could be the problem. It is a parasite and needs these foods to survive).
I’m currently flaring right now, and am starting Phase 1 of the SCD diet. I’m currently taking 40 mg of prednisone, Levaquin, and Flagyl. The doc isn’t sure if it’s a flare or a really bad bacterial infection. I’ve lossed 20 pounds in the process, and have no energy. It does feel like a flare because of all the cramping, and the diarrhea. I’m glad to say that the bleeding has gone away. Time to snack on those really ripe bananas.
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