I have been taking Mezavant XL which I believe is the European name for Lialda for a few years. For me, it has been good, better than the Asacol, I don't really know why. When I flared last summer though I was put up from 2 to 4 a day and it did cause bloating, wind etc. As soon as I saw no blood I reduced to 3 and then 2 and insides are more comfortable with that. I also started to use a Salofalk enema which is another brand of Pentasa (mesalazine), I couldn't squeeze the Pentasa bottles well and Salofalk concertina bottles I find much easier to use. I never got on well with Asacol rectal foam.
When I have bad diarrhoea, a little of the coating colour of the Lialda shows in my stool but mostly I don't think it affects the colour.
So, if your doctor agrees, it could be worth reducing the Lialda by 1 a day from 3 to 2 if your symptoms are not too bad to see if that lessens the wind etc. I have met a few people at support group meetings who could not tolerate any mesalazine preparations, you could be unlucky and be one of them, so keep talking to your doctor about
Iron tablets are controversial for UC, I have had consultants tell me not to take even the most gentle as the mechanism of iron in the colon in UC is poorly understood, yet this study I found refutes that strongly . usagiedu.com/articles/ibdanemia/ibdanemia.pdf
I did use Spatone water for a while but for me it made things worse, I think it is because it is Iron Sulphate and I have trouble with sulphates when flaring. I read a study that I can't find the link to now that suggest it was the sulphate form rather than the iron that could be damaging.
Narrow pencil-like stools are usually how I am when I am moving from inflammation back to normal so that could be a good sign for you. If you keep the snake-like form and it continues to widen some, then that is good news.
How do I know I am in remission when I am? No urgency, no mucous or blood in stool, able to pass wind with no follow through of blood or mucous, no pain before or after bowel movement, bowel movement a number "4" on the Bristol Stool chart (www.sthk.nhs.uk/library/documents/stoolchart.pdf
)able to hold it in if there is no bathroom around, one to two bowel movements a day (apart from around Day 20 of my cycle when the progesterone surge happens, might have one to two days with no bowel movement), odour from wind and stool not particularly bad and dissipates after a short time. No aches and pains in the body, not very fatigued. Blood tests show no raised CRP or ESR. Colonoscopy shows no active inflammation.
Pan Colitis 1988
No major flare ups since, many well years among the mild to moderate flare ups, some years without meds
No special diet other than low fibre and rare alcohol
Currently Mezavant XL x 2 per day
Salofalk Enema x 1 per day
B complex supplements
Vitamin D and vitamin K2
Now subsiding flare which was suspected C Diff, 10 days on Flagyl