I got my first Colitis flareup about four years ago, my second about three years ago. The first one came and went. It was short lived, and there wasn't that much blood. I thought I had hemorrhoids. The second one was bad. I was passing blood clots and my poo wasn't poo. It was bloody, brown water. I was on Prednisone and couldn't get off of it. I was so desperate that I tried fecal transplantation. It worked. My flareup immediately went into remission, and I tapered off of the Prednisone as fast as was safely possible. I was in remission for more than a year when I started getting bladder infections. I had to go back on antibiotics. I was on and off them for about a year when I got my third and current flareup. That was three months ago. I tried taking anti-inflammatory medicine (Colozal) for the first month (I had some left that hadn't expired from my last flareup). But the medication didn't work. The flareup kept getting worse. I did not want to go back to my doctor, because I knew he would put me back on Prednisone. So I gave up on the meds and started looking into more natural ways to combat my flareup. After changing my diet and taking Probiotics, my flareup has gradually improved over the past two months. It is now almost gone, and I hope to be in remission by X-mas. I thought I would share with you what I've been doing to combat my flareup. Of course, what works for me may not work for you, but it might at least help.
1) Eliminate any foods that make symptoms worse. For me, this is sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners are the worst, then high-fructose corn syrup, molasses, and so on. I also can't eat most fruits, although I can eat bananas and possibly strawberries and pineapple.
2) Eliminate foods that increase inflammation. These include nightshades (tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, and eggplants), sugar, trans fats and other hydrogenated oils, white flour, gluten (wheat, rye, and barley), shellfish, lunch meats, hot dogs, sausages, fatty meats, dairy products, and eggs. If you must eat meat and dairy products, choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products.
3) Eliminate foods that make diarrhea worse. These include fatty, fried, greasy, or spicy foods, diary products, alcohol, coffee (even decaf), very hot or very cold beverages, and chocolate.
4) Eliminate foods that cause gas. These include sugar, fructose, lactose, sorbitol, beans, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, asparagus, and whole grains. During my flareup, the gas gets caught in my colon; so it's really important for me to reduce gas. I stay clear of gas-producing foods, take Beano and Lactaid before meals, and do sit ups.
4) Eat foods that calm inflammation. The following foods are anti-inflammatory: salmon, canola or olive oil, walnuts, onions, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, mangoes, papayas, seaweed, spinach, kale, chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, garlic, pineapple, ginger, cinnamon, and turmeric. Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in nature. During a really bad flareup, mix some turmeric with brown rice. Of course, don't eat anything that makes your symptoms worse. I can't eat most berries, because they give me diarrhea.
5) Eat foods that reduce diarrhea. These foods, which make up the BRATTY diet, help firm stools: bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, green and herbal teas, and yogurt. I drink Celestial Seasonings' tension tamer caffeine free herbal tea. It contains peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, chamomile, licorice, and catnip. All of these herbs are anti-inflammatory.
6) Eat foods that reduce gas. Papaya and pineapple help reduce gas. Yogurt helps restore the natural balance of intestinal bacteria. Rice produces little to no gas.
7) Take probiotics, both orally and up the but. I mix one capsule of probiotics (Sustenex has been working well for me) with about two syringes of water before putting it up my but. The water is also calming. I do this first thing in the morning after I have a bowel movement and before I go to bed. Be careful not to buy prebiotics instead of probiotics. They aren't the same.
8) Take vitamins. I take Omega-3 (to reduce inflammation), calcium (because I'm not getting much diary), cranberry supplements (because I can't eat most berries and because I had the bladder infections last year), probiotics (to balance the intestinal bacteria), iron (because I lost a lot of blood), and a multi-vitamin.
Please note: I have no vested interest in Colozal, Celestial Seasonings, Sustenex, or anything else mentioned above.