6 months of normalcy...then a flare!

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/6/2008 7:33 AM (GMT -6)   
I am new to posting, so hello to everyone!

I was diagnosed in Nov 06 at age 22 with UC. I was actually quite familiar with the disease b/c my brother had suffered with it for 3 years prior, and I had just finished nursing school. However, being familiar did not help me on my journey. I spent a year having a flare at least once a month, ridiculous! However, I was being told my my doctor that this is what is normal for me, and my disease was just progressing. Talk about depressing! Finally I started charting what I ate, activities, stressors, and my period to see if I could relate any of these factors with my flares. I realized that the flares would begin 2-3 days prior to my period and last until about a 5 days after, sometimes longer. So we are talking abdominal cramps from two sources and extra blood loss. My doctor told me there should not be in relation with my period and flare ups.
I had my doubts and decided to see a gynecologist for a second opinion. I told her all my issues with the GI doc, how I charted my flares, and my gut feeling the GI upset was caused by hormone shifts during my period. She stated she believed I knew my body better than any doctor, and asked to draw hormone levels, and start me on Seasonique (birth control that allows to you have only 4 periods a year). My levels were slightly off, and she thought birth control would regulate me better. Which worked, a little! I had 6 months of normalcy...then a flare!

However, I feel like I may have caused this flare! I have been playing around with my alternative medicine regimen, and I decided I might be able to wean myself off of the fish oil I had been taking. I HATE taking it! I have restarted it, and I am hoping to start feeling better soon.

Here are some questions I have:

What foods help you during a flare?
Have any women had trouble with flares during their periods?
Have any women become pregnant after their diagnosis, and taken UC medicine during pregnancy?

I take Asacol (4) 400mg pills 3x daily, Fish Oil 1,ooomg 3x daily, Multivitamin daily, Calcium 500mg 2-3x daily, Seasonique once daily. Are they any additional supplements that I could benefit from?

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 4/6/2008 9:58 AM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HealingWell, Fiona. Many of our female members do see a relationship between monthly cycles and flares, and we have several members who have had successful pregnancies while taking meds for UC. Some report decreased flaring, others increased during the pregnancy. Asacol and Prednisone are generally agreed to be safe during pregnancy, and I believe Imuran is also considered safe by most.

Likewise, I'm sure you'll have as many different answers on the diet as there are members here. As for me, I completely avoid spicy, high-fat, high fiber foods during a flare and eat them carefully when in remission. Many people find their flares are worsened by dairy products, sugar and other foods. It seems we each respond differently.

I'm wondering why your regimen doesn't include Rowasa. Since flares start in the rectum and advance from there, and oral meds don't reach the procto-sigmoid area, mesalamine enemas are a part of the treatment strategy for most people here. Also, I notice you're taking 1000 mg. of calcium at a time; based on what I've read, your body won't absorb more than about 500 mg. taken at one time, and the additional is just excreted in the stool.

I would recommend a good probiotic be added to your regimen. Most of our members find they help, and research is showing more and more that they help promote colon health in IBD. VSL#3 has been proven to help, but is fairly expensive. A lot of our members take Culturelle or Primadophilus Reuteri from Nature's Way. There are others, which I'm sure people will mention for you.

Finally, I hope you've sought out a new GI. My first GI basically told me it was the best he could do when I was still having 10-15 stools a day, bleeding and pain. He never went beyond the basics - 5-ASA's, Imuran and Pred. I changed GI's, found one who actually cared that I was still sick, and now I'm in remission. There's no reason to continue seeing a doctor who isn't providing the care you need.

Again, welcome to the forum. I think you'll find the people here helpful and supportive.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Asacol, Rowasa, Pentasa, Prednisone, Entocort, Azathioprine
Colazal,  Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
Co-Moderator UC Forum
The information I share on this forum is based only on my own experience and study. It is important to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.

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