Posted 5/4/2008 12:42 PM (GMT -6)
Golfer, ulcerative colitis is a chronic autoimmune disease which currently can be cured only by surgical removal of the colon. Most GI specialists recommend you stay on medication for life. Asacol is the first drug used most of the time. Bloating can be a problem for some with UC, I'll let those who deal with that give you suggestions.
Asacol is one of a group of medications known as 5-ASA's; others in this group include Lialda, Colazal and Pentasa. They sometimes take a month or so to become fully effective. After that, your colon still needs to heal so you may have symptoms for a while. Your colon usually heals from the "proximal" (closest to the mouth) to the "distal" (closest to the rectum.) Rectal inflammation is called proctitis and can be stubbornly persistent.
Normally with new medication and a new diagnosis, doctors here in the US will see you every six to twelve weeks until you are stable. Your post leads me to believe you not be in the US, so perhaps some of our members from other countries will be able to offer advice.
At least 20% of people with UC do not experience decreased appetite or weight loss; consider yourself lucky to be in this group. If your symptoms are not controlled on your current maximum dosage of Asacol, I'd suggest calling the specialist and trying to get an appointment. Asacol doesn't work for everyone, and there are a lot of other medication choices. Steroid drugs such as prednisone or prednisolone can be used for short periods to induce remission, but should not be used long-term. Other 5-ASA's may work better. Then there are medications that help suppress the immune system which is causing the problems. So it's well worth it to see the doctor again.
In the meantime, avoid taking NSAID pain relievers such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. They can cause GI bleeding and cause you more problems. If at all possible, stick to acetamenophen for pain relief. You may want to start on a good probiotic, too, to replace the good bacteria your gut loses because of the UC. You can get a good one at any health food store and most pharmacies. For more information, try searching on this site for "probiotics."
I'm sorry your UC has come back, but very glad you found us. I think you'll find the folks here supportive and helpful. Welcome to HealingWell.