The following is how I found out I had colitis.
I was bleeding profusely, had searched the Internet, and had read about
colon issues such as IBS, hemorrhoids, IBD, colon cancer... My symptoms did not minmick colon cancer. So it could not have been colon cancer. Everyone in my family has strong, solid colons. So it could not have been IBD, which has a genetic component to it. My symptoms were worse than just IBS. So it could not be just IBS. Therefore, it had to be hemorrhoids. I thought I had to get hemorrhoid surgery and was preparing my mind mentally for having to get surgery. I just had to wait for my insurance to kick in to be able to see a GI.
When I saw my GI for the first time, he said he thought it was UC. A few days later (after the colon inflammation subsided a little), he did a sigmoidoscopy (or at least a partial sigmoidoscopy). He diagnosed me with UC.
At first I believed his diagnosis. I took the medicines, which stopped working. Read about
alternative treatments. Did fecal transplantation, which put me into remission immediately.
Now I believe I have antibiotic-associated colitis. I've been on antibiotics practically all my life. I'm currently using a topical antibiotic. My dermatologist wanted me to take an oral antibiotic. I agreed to a topical one--one that is less harmful to the colon. My poo doesn't look as good as it did before taking the antibiotic. Will see...
The possibility of having another flare is always in the back of my mind. I have to pay attention to what I eat/drink, what medicines I take, and how my poo looks. I'm in better health, because I eat better. I'm grateful that I am in remission.
Figuring out how to reduce a flare or get into remission is a trial and error experience. Don't expect your GI to have all the answers. He was trained in making diagnoses, prescribing medications, and surgically removing the colon. He was not trained in alternative treatments. That's why they are called alternative treatments.
What works for me: Fecal transplantation, Probiotics, Anti-inflammatory foods, No HFCS, No crystalline fructose, No foods high in fructose, No artificial sweeteners, No pro-inflammatory foods when flaring, Vitamins, Lexapro (for stress).