I'm a member of the US Air Force and I'm stationed in the UK. I've been in the military for the last 15 1/2 years. I was diagnosed with UC in May, 2007 (and just now decided to seek out support--don't ask, I live in Europe).
Anyway, my first symptoms of UC began in March of 2007 (painful, twisting pains with urgency and bloody stools). After a colonscopy I was properly diagnosed with UC (pancolitis) mostly on my sigmoid side. I had to face a military medical board to determine suitability to continue serving our nation. The judges ruled in my favor and I could stay in the AF.
I moved from Germany to England in February of 2008 and had been symptom-free since May of 07 (4x Mesalamine twice a day with folic acid supplements). I was fine until June of 2008. I suffered quite a devastating amount of stress and I flared for a month. I was put on 4x Mesalamine three times a day with Mesalamine (Rowasa) enema at bedtime. The flare went away.
In late December, I flared again, but it started out slowly with diarrhea and gas then moved into slow, slight abdominal twinges with increased trips to the bathroom. After having 11 bowel movements in a day, I moved into bloody stools again (bright red) in the middle of last week. I was hospitalized last Wednesday for observation (fear of sepsis or ruptured colon). Blood came back negative for this (including normal white blood cell count). I was released on Thursday after being bedridden for the better part of a day. I appeared clear of blood in my stool. Friday was also good--however the weekend was a relapse to more bloody stools. Today (Monday) was touch-and-go.
I'm now on this:
Mesalamine (4x, 400mg) 3 times a day
Folic Acid 2 times a day
Steroid enema (nightly)
Mesalamine enema (nightly--but haven't touched it since I can't do two)
I know NOTHING about prevention, but I know stress is what is kicking off my flares. I exercise 3-4 times/week. I do what I can to relieve stress, but I feel it still finds a way to settle in my gut.
I enjoy caffeine...it's my only vice.
I don't drink much alcohol. Probably only one beer/month.
I live in Europe...the health care is not up to the US standard for Gastroenterology. Even they admit this.
The military lacks the manpower, availability, and locality to provide for my medical needs.
What can I do? I'm reading about probiotics right now and if they can help me. I'm in my most elongated flare ever.