Posted 1/2/2008 12:22 AM (GMT -7)
Hi, I'm 21 (a senior in college) and I've had UC since I was 16. The only really bad flare that I've had, while in college, was during my freshman year and it put me in the hospital for 9 days. I think this flare was definately because I wasn't taking my meds religiously (or that at least played a huge role). I'm a pretty calm and laid back person; I don't stress very easily. I have a very chaotic/sporadic schedule. Some nights I'm up late studying or out with little sleep etc. I haven't noticed my social life, late nights, or stress levels really influencing my UC (other then adherence to meds), but I do realize that it is different for everyone. I drink alcohol almost every week and I don't think that drinking has ever really sent me into a flare. I do notice that the side effects of drinking are sometimes more prominent in me then in my friends and I wonder if it's from the meds or UC? For example, sometimes when I get a hangover it seems to be way worse then my friends. But a lot of the time there are no different effects on me from drinking then anyone else and I can drink just like everyone else. I always keep pepto handy when I'm drinking...it helps.
The main problem that I have had while at school is taking my medication as prescribed. I was on Asacol until August when I switched to Lialda(which I only take once a day as opposed to 3 times a day). There were times when I was having to take medicine 4-5 times a day, which I found almost impossible between classes and everything else going on in life. For over a year I had blood in my stool almost every time I went to the bathroom, occasionally I'd go a week or 2 blood free, but for the most part there was always blood. Once again, I think a lot of this had to do w/ not taking my meds as prescribed. I could rarely get the full amount of Asacol as prescribed each day. And as terrible as this may sound I always thought that if blood was my only symptom and I was functioning regularly then I was good to go. So I was okay w/ not taking my Asacol as prescribed. When I switched to Lialda the blood went away b/c I was getting my full dose each day.
As far as eating goes, I eat the same thing any other college student eats. I know that these aren't always wise food choices but I don't think that my eating habits have really had an effect on my UC either. I just know which foods bother me & I stay away from them. I live in a sorority house so we get 3 decent meals a day (which helps), but I still make the occasional late night fast food run.
Since I live with so many other girls I do have to be careful b/c my immune system is surpressed from Imuran. I'm a lot more cautious about washing my hands, staying away from sick people, and using Lysol etc. any chance I get.
So all in all I don't think that college itself has had an effect on my UC and I am able to lead a normal life at school. You always have to remember that you could be doing everything by the book & still have problems, sometimes people go into flares for no apparent reason! The main problem, for me, was remembering to take my medication, but anyone can have that problem whether they are in school or not. Taking meds seems like such a simple task and some people don't understand why people can't just stay on their med schedule. But, I think that when you're young you don't always look at the consequences, especially long term, of your actions. So even though not taking my meds may not effect me right away I wasn't wise enough to realize that in the long run not taking my meds can seriously harm me. I get busy with school and caught up with things and taking meds is the last thing that I want to think about, but I now know that not taking them is going to cause a lot more problems then if I would just make a conscious effort to pop a few pills a couple times a day. No matter how many times my mom told me to take my meds etc. I had to ultimately learn from my own mistakes.
Good luck for the next semester!