Is remission possible without meds?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 1/9/2008 10:26 AM (GMT -6)   

Although I have improved dramatically since I was first diagnosed, I have seen very little evidence that any of the medications actually contributed to my relative state of remission.  Is it possible to achieve remission without the aid of any medications?


Back in June, I was experiencing flare symptoms such as blood, mucous, and frequency.  I was given antibiotics, Prednisone, and Colazal.  I showed no improvement after about 4-6 weeks.  Gradually, after more time, I improved.  I do not know if it was due to the Colazal or the Prednisone.  I have read here that Prednisone is fast acting.  If so, why did it not help me sooner?


A few months later I was taking only Colazal and I was doing well.  Due to pancreatitis developing, I stopped taking Colazal and started again on Prednisone.  This sudden change in medications resulted in no change at all in my symptoms. 


More recently, I began Remicade and stopped taking Prednisone.  Again, my symptoms did not change at all during this transition. 


I apologize for all of the detail, but I wanted to demonstrate how I have changed medications several times with no noticeable impact.  I have been relatively normal for over 5 months, with some blood occasionally.    


I am starting to question that I even have Ulcerative Colitis. 


Does this situation seem odd to anyone here?  Your opinions will be appreciated.

M-39, UC Diagnosed June 2007

Other stuff:  Migraines/headaches, high blood pressure, essential tremor

Previous Meds: Colazol (caused pancreatitis), antibiotics, Prednisone (several cycles 20mg/day)

Current Meds: Remicade beginning in Oct ‘07, various vitamins, Imitrex, Lortab, Lisinopril

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 733
   Posted 1/9/2008 12:26 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, lots of meds don't work for me, including Prednisone and Colazol. And, sometimes I just seem to feel better than others. Sometimes I don't feel like a have UC for a couple days here and there. On Remicade I had about 3 months that I was pretty near remission. Now that you have committed to taking Remicade, you need to remain on it, even if you are feeling better. You might feel like you don't have UC, that is great that you feel that well. But if you were diagnosed with it because of results of a colonoscopy, you really probably do have it and are in remission and need to keep doing what you're doing to stay that way. It's good to hear someone doing so well.
Diagnosed with Left-sided Ulcerative Colitis 1995 at 15
Tried: Prednisone, Rowasa & Hydrocortisone Enemas, Proctofoam, Sulfasalazine, Asacol, Probiotics, Fish Oil, Canasa, Enotcort, Colazol, Proctocort, Anamantle, etc...
Diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitis with almost rectovaginal fistula in 2004, put on Remicade, August 2007:Increased Remicade dosage-700mg every 6 weeks,diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis & Fibromyalgia Current meds: Remicade 700mgs every 6 wks (had reaction, will start Humira Jan 29) Clorazepate, Proctofoam HC, Glucosamine 500, Vitamin B, Lomotil as needed, Darvocet, Tylenol pm

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 458
   Posted 1/9/2008 12:44 PM (GMT -6)   
I have never taken meds and am in full remission right now.  I was diagnosed in 2006, first symptoms Feb 2006 (one week after my daughter, who is 23 yrs old had her first symptoms coincidence???), blood, urgency (about 15x per day), D, mucous.  I did not have a family doctor (good old Ontario health system).  By the time I got a doctor, then to see a specialist GI (6 months later) and to have a colonoscopy I was starting to improve on my own.  I accidentally discovered that when I ate fresh crushed garlic, my urgency and blood decreased. The GI gave me a prescription, but didn't bother to fill it.  I had one flare in Feb 07, did the garlic test again, it worked.   Had another small flare May 07, used garlic again, it worked.  Since then I have been symptom free (keeping my fingers crossed) and appreciating every day I remain so.
I think there is another poster who has given up his/her meds for a natural healing, maybe he/she will reply (therearemiracles).
Dx:  UC Proctitis 2006
Meds:  None so far. Garlic works to ease flares. My GI laughed when I told him and said it was just coincidence.
Diet:  Regular fresh garlic, Biobest yogurt daily, Omega 3 supplements, very limited junk food, carbs and processed food, low fat diet.  Lots of fresh fruit and veggies (limited potatoes). 
Added: tumeric and probiotics.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 679
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I was on Remicade before trying a natural approach, which has helped me tremendously. I had many ulcers in my colon, which have all disappeared since I put myself on a diet program. I bascially avoid dairly products (no milk, cheese, etc.) and processed sugar in all forms (cookies, sodas, fruit juices, cakes, etc.). It's a similar diet to the SCD, but my own version of it, I guess its more like the Zone diet...but either way, I've gone from 15 bm's a day down to 5 and I have a lot more energy.

But, it's not a cure by any means and it may not work for you as it did for me because everyone is different.

Diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis January 2007
Meds: Remicade, Primal Defense Ultra, Multi-vitamins (also iron, B12, Magnesium and Zinc), Flaxseed/Natures Bounty Fish Oil
Swanson Ultra Caprylic Acid (natural anti-fungal) 600mg x2 daily
Carrot & Garlic supplements (natural anti-fungal) x2 daily
Currently taking herbal meds in the search to regain full health.

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 157
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:18 PM (GMT -6)   
Do you recall which antibiotic was prescribed, and in what regimen?

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:21 PM (GMT -6)   

Princess, I definitely understand the importance of taking meds even while feeling better.  However, I just don't know if any of the meds actually induced my relative remission.  In fact, every single med I have taken for UC has seemed to do more harm than good.  You know more than anyone that Remicade is not worth taking unless it is clearly making a difference.  The negatives are too siginificant to take it lightly.

I guess that's what's behind my question.  I don't want to keep taking all of these horrible drugs without knowing that they are making a positive difference.  And, so far, I see little relation between my improvement and the meds. 

I am very grateful that I am doing relatively well, but I am uncertain how I got this way. 

M-39, UC Diagnosed June 2007

Other stuff:  Migraines/headaches, high blood pressure, essential tremor

Previous Meds: Colazol (caused pancreatitis), antibiotics, Prednisone (several cycles 20mg/day)

Current Meds: Remicade beginning in Oct ‘07, various vitamins, Imitrex, Lortab, Lisinopril

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 34
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:25 PM (GMT -6)   
Delarge, I do not recall which antibiotics I took.  There were two different ones, and I only took them for one week. 
I do remember that one of them dissolved quickly in my mouth and it tasted horrible.  And one of them caused nausea, because I felt horrible until I stopped taking those pills.   

M-39, UC Diagnosed June 2007

Other stuff:  Migraines/headaches, high blood pressure, essential tremor

Previous Meds: Colazol (caused pancreatitis), antibiotics, Prednisone (several cycles 20mg/day)

Current Meds: Remicade beginning in Oct ‘07, various vitamins, Imitrex, Lortab, Lisinopril

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:29 PM (GMT -6)   
In my almost 17 yrs of dealing with IBD, I've learned that it seems the disease can have a mind of it's's not uncommon for people to be in remission and then flare dramatically no matter how ontop they stay with their meds (RX/natural) and diet...of course the chances probably lessen if you'r faithful to your regime but bottom line really is, we can only control it so much, not enough is known about this dreaded disease yet to be able to stay in full remission. The important thing is you stick with what does help, pay close attention to your diet (which should be a very healthy one, that doesn't contain things which are known to exacerbate symptoms, like processed foods/beverages, including sugar, caffeine, animal fats, fast-foods) and exercise is a huge overall benefit for the bowels and the mind.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it!  LOL  :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 60
   Posted 1/9/2008 2:32 PM (GMT -6)   
My father had left-sided UC and has been in remission since 1993. I'm not sure exactly when he stopped taking medication (he was on one of the older sulfa drugs), but it was sometime around/before '93. He has not only been completely symptom-free since then, but his last colonoscopy (in '93) showed no signs of disease. I'm not really sure how this happened. His best guess is that he significantly reduced his stress levels (to the point that his Dr. said he'd gone from being a Type A personality to a Type B). He didn't take any supplements or other natural remedies. He just reduced his stress and in early 1997 found religious faith that he also attributes to his healing (not in the sense of divine intervention, but rather the stress-reducing effects of prayer and meditation).

I'd love to have the same sort of spontaneous remission my father did, though it doesn't seem likely at this point. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed...
Erin, 25

Diagnosed with left-sided UC June 2007
Flaring since June 2007

Asacol 400 mg x 9
Prednisone 20 mg (since 01/09/08)
Iron, Multivitamin, & Probiotic Yogurt
Zoloft 75 mg (for depression/anxiety)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 2148
   Posted 1/9/2008 3:34 PM (GMT -6)   
here is my theory based solely on my experiences and bits of information I have put together to make my conclusions. Everyone is different but I think for the majority.....

I think you can achieve remission without meds - HOWEVER, the length of time to get to the remission, the length of the remission and quality of remission may not be as good as being on meds.

To kind of answer your prednisone question I went into a severe flare going 25+ times a day w/D&B&M&C - all the fun stuff two weeks after starting prednisone - I got progressivly worse!

I have been on pred for 4 months now and meet w/my Doc tomorrow before they consider it a 'failure' (I take it for my kidneys and was also 'supposed' to benefit my UC).
Beth, 32
Major Flare Sept/Oct 07 ~ working on remission almost there
UC Diagnosed March 2000 (30 cenitmeters)
Azathioprine 200mg 1xday nightly; Calcium and Vit D 500mg 3xday, Multi Vit, Folic Acid 400mg 2xday, Probiotics.
Minimal Change Disease (Kidney Disorder) Diagnosed Sept 2007
Prednisone 60/40mg alt days 1xday, Simvastatin 20mg 1xday, Diovan 160mg 2xday. Potassium 600mg 2xday, Fosomax 70mg 1xweek. MCD may be from hypersensitivty to 5ASA drugs.

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 1/9/2008 7:06 PM (GMT -6)   
Pessimist, the natural course of this disease is one of remissions and flares. Medications are used to try to increase the ratio of remission days to flare days. Even with medications some of us can have flares. And even without meds some of us will go into remission. The tough thing is that we don't have control over it and there's no way to predict which group we're in.

Because of the course of the disease, it can be really hard for an individual to know what helps and what doesn't. I don't believe I'd ever have gotten into remission without Remicade, but then I don't know that for sure. All we can do is make the best choices we know how, and hope for the best.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Intolerant to Asacol and rectal mesalamine preparations.
On Prednisone then Entocort 2001-2006 with only short periods off. 
Current meds are Colazal, Azathioprine Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri.
In remission since April, 2006. Remicade has been my wonder drug.

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 18
   Posted 1/9/2008 7:14 PM (GMT -6)   
A year ago I was having what I now recognize as a mild UC flare. I didn't go to a doctor and I went into remission after three or four months.

That said, after my most recent flare, with more severe symptoms which led to my diagnosis, I have been on meds and they've made a real difference.
Moderate pan-UC, diagnosed 12/07.
Asacol 4 x 3, Colocort nightly, probiotics, fish oil, vitamins.

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