Does Length/Time haveing UC affect healing?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 436
   Posted 3/30/2009 11:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I've never heard about this topic so If it's been on here before sorry. Do y'all think the longer you have UC the harder your colon is going to take to heal? I often wonder if I would have been more proactive as soon as I was diagnosed if I would have a milder case of UC. When being proactive I mean researching diet, forums and knowing about all possible prescriptions that help.
28/M/TX single parent of gorgeous 3yo girl (revised 12/12/08)
Severe Colitis (pancolitis) since January 9, 2005
currently:  Mildly Flaring 
RX/day: none! Tapered off Prednisone 9/20/08. Lost job and insurance 10/2007 and stopped taking asacol and Imuran cold turkey
OTC: enzymes everyday, turmeric, seldom use probiotics, vitamins & other natural treatments
Diet: SCD helps tremendously, but am not strictly on it.
Other: Prayer, food combos, good posture, chewing more, etc.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 498
   Posted 3/30/2009 11:54 PM (GMT -6)   
Well the answer is YES. I have seen for myself and my other siblings that as the disease progresses the flare ups are more severe. Initially I used to have flare ups for hardly 30 days or so in a year, but later on it used to flare up quite often. Colon gets time to heal plus there are chances of polyps too. The bleeding may come from polyps and may not be UC related at times. The best thing is have proper diets, natural cures, meditation, yoga, less of stress so that you don't have a flare up. Just by changing your life style you can prevent flare ups as you know the stress causes the immune system to go bonkers.
45 years Male
Diagnosed UC October 1989
Had two stage J Pouch Surgery Nov 2005 March 2006
Complications after surgery - Incisional Hernia and Ano Fistulas
on Combiflam, Multivitamins and restricted diet.
Tried Sallaki/Turmeric/Homoepathy/Allopathy/Chinese/Unani/Ayuvedic/Yoga before going for surgery
"Faith is the bird that sings when the dawn is still dark."
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracl: Albert Einstein
"What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is in control of you."

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 3/30/2009 11:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sure much still needs to be learned regarding your question, but so far researchers have found at least 9 different gene clusters that contribute to the the development of IBD and define the severity and behavior of the disease over time, according to Dr. Kevin Rioux, some of these genes encode factors involved in recognition and defense against bacteria. Mutations in immune response genes may adversely affect how the immune system reacts to harmless bacteria and he believes this probably contributes to the development of IBD.
Rest assured, some people that start out mild can stay mild throughout their entire lives with their disease, no 2 IBDers are the same as I've often said.


My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3231
   Posted 3/31/2009 12:09 AM (GMT -6)   
I've had three flares:

In regard to frequency, I'm getting flares less often.

In regard to intensity, my second flare was the worst. My doctor was shocked when he saw my condition.

In regard to duration, my second flare lasted the longest.

I healed quickly after all three flares.
Joy - 47 yrs and counting
Diagnosed w/ UC Dec 06 (also have IBS)
Currently in remission
Don't expect your doctor to cure your health problems. Your health is your responsibility.

Lexapro (for stress), Probiotics and Vitamins (a whole bunch of them)
Avoid HFCS, foods high in fructose, artificial sweeteners
When flaring: eat anti-inflammatory foods, avoid pro-inflammatory foods
Previous treatments: Fecal transplantation (worked), Prednisone (stopped working), Colazal (stopped working), Asacol (stopped working)

Post Edited (subdued) : 3/30/2009 11:22:53 PM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 128
   Posted 3/31/2009 3:34 AM (GMT -6)   

I often wonder this regarding my colitis, I am in my 7th year now.  However I keep referring back to my grandmothers case.  She flared almost continuously from the age of 35 to about 45 and this was back in the 1960's when there wasn't as much meds around.  Then from the age of 45 she went into complete remission and took no meds for the next 40 years.  It was only at the age of 83 that she suffered a flare up and was started on Asacol which has kept her in remission, she is now 87.  I am hoping my own illness will follow the path hers did,  if it does I only have another 3 years of this crap to deal with (I know wishful thinking) but it makes me feel better.


33 year old female
UC diagnosed 2001
Asacol 6 per day
Azathioprine 100mg started 4/08

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2006
Total Posts : 5698
   Posted 3/31/2009 8:19 AM (GMT -6)   
No, I don't believe so. The disease is unpredictable. For some their first flare is their worst yet they recover and have many years of remission. For others their first flare is the only flare as it leads directly to surgery as no medication can touch it. Most people I meet with UC fall into the category of their first flare is their worst. You don't meet them on these boards because they are in remission.

dx proctitis in 1987
dx UC in 1991, was stable until 1998

1998 started prednisone, asacol, pentasa, nortriptylene, ativan, 6MP, rowasa enemas and suppositories, hydrocortisone enemas, tried the SCD diet, being a vegetarian, omega 3s, flax, pranic healing, yoga, acupuncture, probiotics

2000 lost all my B-12 stores and became anemic

2001 opted for j-pouch surgery- now living life med-free

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 3/31/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm not sure, but I think my flares are just wearing me out more generally in the past few years.
Maybe it's just getting older and tiring more easily.
49 year old female attorney, diagnosed UC/pancolitis 1985, no surgery but much suffering. Asacol/5ASA 6x400 mg maintenance for 20+ years; use prednisone & Rowasa for flares. 
August 2008 sought care of naturopathic doctor. Food sensitivity test showed wheat/gluten, other intolerances; eliminated all wheat/gluten from my diet. Probiotics (Ultimate Flora, 50 billion), trying Curamin. 
Flaring, seasonal? or supplements too harsh? Back on prednisone, tried to taper but now back up to 20-30 after several really bad days. Waiting for insurance decison on Humira...soon... 

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 460
   Posted 3/31/2009 9:26 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been flaring pretty much since I was diagnosed 6 years ago. I've had maybe 2 years total without any bleeding, but the rest of the time I've been bleeding and flaring. So in my case, the answer would be no! I actually think that now that I've had the disease for so long, I'm able to treat myself a little better. I know what works for me and what doesn't so I don't suffer with feeling lousy for as long. I'm able to be more pro-active since I know what meds work for me.
Female, Age 38
Diagnosed w/c.diff 7/02 when pregnant w/1st and only child during 2nd trimester(wasn't on antibiotics)
C.diff flare within weeks of delivering baby 1/03, Diagnosed with UC 2/03
Current Meds:
LDN - 2/17/09 1.5 mg., increased to 3 mg. 3/3/09
Ferrex Forte
Acidophillus, Sacchromyces Boulardii, Oil of Oregano

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 3/31/2009 9:33 AM (GMT -6)   
I'd say yes. The longer you're sick, the worse the gut ecology is going to get, the worse your ability to absorb nutrients is going to be, the harder it is to heal... it's kind of a vicious cycle.

I believe if I'd known what to do to address my irritable bowel syndrome - besides taking antispasmodics to address the symptoms and not the cause - I might have prevented myself from getting a full blown ulcerative colitis diagnosis. I feel the poor diet, disrupted digestion, poor assimilation and imbalanced gut ecology put me in a weakened state that opened the door for the trigger and onset of UC.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999.
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine. Probiotics, l-glutamine, vitamin D and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice. Oregano oil antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal. Mostly grain-free and dairy-free diet. Long-term remission with only minor blips.

Old Hat
Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 5191
   Posted 3/31/2009 8:17 PM (GMT -6)   
Yes and no. UC is unpredictable, but the colon mucosa does tend to thin over time + the colon can shrink lengthwise, too. I know from cytology reports that both have happened to me. Right now I'm in a sigmoid flare-up that took me by surprise & got worse with application of generic Rowasa. This is the 1st time that retention liquids have failed me! (We never know 'til we're in it.) On the other hand, most of us learn to take better care of our health in order to function reasonably well day-to-day, which improves our healing potential. But we're all aging because it's the natural process-- so we can just try our best to carry on in good form for as long as possible. / Old Hat (30 yrs with left-sided UC ... [etc.])

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 5975
   Posted 3/31/2009 8:27 PM (GMT -6)   
     This is a tough one.  I can remember my first flare.  It was really bad and I had to be hospitalized for eight days.  After about two months, I went into remission and enjoyed two wonderful years without any flare.  But, I was a bad girl and decided...heck, no symptoms, why meds?  I went off my medication, which was Asacol at the time and, wham, a flare hit.  My GI doctor switched me to Colazal and put me on Rowasa too.  That flare lasted a few months.  I was symptom free for another two years before flaring again.  Up until last year my flares didn't require any hospitalizations and were treated with a short course of prednisone, Colazal and Cort enemas.  The doctor put me on the 6MP five years ago to help get me off prednisone.  Last year I suffered my WORSE flare.  I really didn't think I would ever reach remission, but I did.  Keeping my fingers crossed because this is the time of year I usually flare.

62 yr old granny. South Jersey
Diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in 1998 in hospital
Hospitalized (2nd time) in May 2008
Update 11/03/08...finally in remission!!  Hope I don't jinx myself.  Off the prednisone since 11/01/ see if I can stay off for longer than two weeks.  Other meds: 6MP (75 mgm), colazal (6 per day), Benicar and Toprol (high blood pressure meds), Probiotic (2 per day), fish oil capsule and multi-vitamin and calcium with vitamin D.

White Beard
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3702
   Posted 4/1/2009 5:36 AM (GMT -6)   
Acording to my Doctors the longer you have UC and once you go over ten years with it your chances of developing colon cancer increases allot, and depending on you family history it could be a substantial increase! For me I was first diagnosed in 1990 and I have a history of colon cancer on both sides of my family, with my mother dieing from it at age 62. When I went to Mayos a few years ago the gastorenterologist told me with my UC and my history that I should have a colonoscopy every 6 months, I had been getting them every 2 years, when I got back to my home and talked my own gastroenterologist  about it, and he agreed with the Mayo report, but also felt that yearly would be sufficient, and my insurance went along with that. So I get a full colonoscopy annually. Every time I have one they remove 3 or 4 precancerous ademonas, and as long as they get them early I don't have to worry about them developing into colon cancer. So far I have been lucky and not have had a major flare in quite a few years I do get small ones every once in a while but even those are getting less frequent!


I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on ful disalbility!

Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!)

Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 16736
   Posted 4/1/2009 6:34 AM (GMT -6)   
I was in a very long flare when I was diagnosed with UP. I couldn't get an appointment to see a GI for months, bled the whole time. Finally got in to see one and was prescribed medication I couldn't afford, didn't use it regularly and was in a mild flare for 1-2 years. I finally deteriorated until the point that I couldn't safely leave the house for fear of an accident. I was skinny from anemia and blood loss and was freezing cold. After that I went to a new GI and she prescribed Asacol and I was better quickly. I did use asacol combined with rectal meds to help get me into this remission. This was my idea, not suggested by my doctor. It was because of quincy from this board that I tried it and I think I would mostlikely still be bleeding if I only took Asacol. Can't say for sure.
Diagnosed with proctitis in March 2007 - Treated with Canasa 2x Daily
Diagnosed with UC December 08 but had symptoms months ago - Treating with Asacol 400mg (9 a day)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 194
   Posted 4/1/2009 8:27 AM (GMT -6)   
I think I have had UC longer than most. I was diagnosed a month after my sixteenth birthday and I am now 63 years old. That would be 47 years. My worst flares were between the ages of 16 and 35. I have NEVER been in total remission. When first diagnosed I lost 30 lbs in two weeks and needed 6 blood transfusions. While doctors back then rarely included me (because I was a kid) in conversations, I do remember them saying my entire colon was affected. They told my parents they thought that within a year I would need a colonostomy. But I didn't. I spent a month in the hospital and missed three months of school. The next year I went back in the hospital and they felt I had improved so much they did not do surgery. I was on prednisone for two years......the second year a minimal dose and then increased whenever I flared.

I had my first colonoscopy at age 30 and have had one yearly ever since. My UC stabalized much more after I went through menopause and now I have milder flares and less often. So in a way, my UC has improved as I have aged. It seems to be the opposite of many. But as someone said, this disease seems to have no patterns.
diagnosed with UC in 1962
regualr meds:
Asulfadine (500mg tablets, 6 daily)
Folic Acid
Zantac as needed
open heart surgery in 2005 for removal of aortic root aneurysm

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 365
   Posted 4/2/2009 1:01 PM (GMT -6)   
My flares have always been long winded and drawn out....never severe enough to hospitalize me, but always long and irritating...some flare symptoms have lasted months....I dont believe I have ever achieved "full" remission in the 14 years I have had this disease...however that may be due to IBS along with my IBD.... I personally dont feel that my flares have gotten any worse per se over time, but each flare concerns me more now that i have had UC for so long....
34 yr old male. UC for 14 years. Started left-sided, most recent scope shows pancolitis. 30mg pred (as of 2/01/09), 12x pills Asacol per day, 1mg Atavan per day (anxiety) when needed, 20mg paxil per day, Super-omega fish oil pills - 1x per day, Flax oil pills - 1x am, 1x pm, Culturelle probiotics - 2x am, 1x pm, Spinach and sunflower seed diet (moderated recently due to kidney stones). Multivitamin. Recent Endonasal brain surgery to remove non-cancerous hormone producing tumor on pituitary gland (and I am still more afraid of my UC!!) "I poop in the woods because I can"

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