Plainly put, your real choices are medication or surgery. While diet may make symptoms worse, it doesn't cause UC or flares. The usual course of the condition is one of remissions and flares, just as you are experiencing. Unfortunately, any medication you take - "natural" or "pharmaceutical" - can have undesirable side effects. You're on the right track by educating yourself about
this, but you may want to do some research on options you haven't yet tried.
Asacol is a 5-ASA anti-inflammatory drug, as are Colazal and Pentasa. If one doesn't help, another might. Some people who are unable to tolerate Asacol do well on Colazal. In addition to the anti-inflammatory effect, this class of drugs has been shown to have some protective effect against colon cancer.
Rectal medications - suppositories or enemas - help bring many people into remission either alone or in combination with oral medications. These may be steroid or 5-ASA drugs.
Imuran, or Azathioprine, is one of the "immunosuppressant" family of drugs, along with 6-MP. They help a lot of people, but you do need periodic blood tests to monitor for side effects. Be aware that Imuran usually takes 2-3 months to take effect.
The "biologicals" such as Remicade and Humira are the newest group of meds for IBD. Like immunosuppressants, they can have adverse effects in some people; for others they are a godsend. Some people choose to try these, others opt for surgery. It's an individual choice.
Steroids such as Prednisone and Entocort are intended for short-term use to help kick your system into remission. They have annoying short-term side effects and potentially disastrous long-term effects, so are not appropriate for maintenance therapy.
Bottom line, if you are reluctant to take medications, your choices narrow to surgery or just putting up with the symptoms when they come. Only you can decide what your priorities are. I wish you the greatest good fortune in making your decisions.
Moderate to severe left-sided UC (21 cm) diagnosed 2001.
Avascular necrosis in both shoulders is my "forever" gift from Entocort.
Colazal, Remicade, Nature's Way Primadophilus Reuteri. In remission since April, 2006.
"My life is an ongoing medical adventure"
Co-Moderator UC Forum
Please remember to consult your health care provider when making health-related decisions.