ByebyeUC is right .... The main reason many people put off surgery is fear. These fears generally revolve around concerns about
complications from surgery or the stigma of having a bag when an end ileostomy is the outcome of surgery.
Some other reasons why surgery is seen as a last resort:
1. Medication is often seen as an easier option than surgery - there is no pain per se in taking medication.
2. Hope that medication - current or future - will make surgery unnecessary.
3. Most UC sufferers are treated by gastroenterologists, who are trained only in treating people with medication and trying to keep them out of surgery. This means the majority of sufferers will follow the medication path all the way to the end before considering surgery, so surgery becomes a final option.
However, surgery does not need to be a last resort.
I elected to have surgery because I was not prepared to take steroids, immunosuppressants or biologics for the rest of my life. With a life expectancy of 30 or 40 years, I did not see medication as a viable option that would get me all the way through and the balance of probability was that I'd need surgery at some point in the future when all the medication options were exhausted. Medication that did not cure the underlying problem but could create other problems as side effects was not something I was prepared to accept. Similarly, I was not comfortable with knowing in the back of my mind that UC could flare at any moment and throw my life into debilitating disarray. I needed stability, not to have my life controlled by BMs and electing to have surgery I saw as the best way to improve my quality of life.
Three months ago I underwent surgery and have a permanent bag. I am now med free, no pain, feel and look healthier, do not worry about
BMs at all, and enjoying life once again. And the added bonus of never needing to worry about
Naturally, there are some things that can be an ongoing problem or concern after surgery, such as blockages and hernia (specifically in relation to an end ileostomy). But, all things considered, these are relatively small and indeed controllable issues compared to the physical and psychological impact of UC. There is a small chance that Crohns colitis is misdiagnosed as UC but this does not mean surgery was unnecessary - medication might buy some extra time for a Crohns sufferer.
Of course, surgery is not for everyone and many people will (understandably) avoid it at all cost. It is an individual choice but leaving it as a last resort may or may not be the best decision. For me, surgery has been life changing for the better and many of the forum posters here who had surgery as a last resort will say they wish it happened sooner. Have a look through the "Ostomies" section of this website.
Also, the transcript
in the link below of an interview with a colorectal surgeon on the question of why you shouldn't wait too long to have surgery for UC is enlightening:
Post Edited (GC4249) : 9/24/2016 7:23:52 PM (GMT-6)