Hey there, I'm a long time lurker of this forum, I have gained so much knowledge and insight from everyone here over the years! Figured I would share my story...
I (25/female) was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in December 2011; it was considered "mild" according to my gastro. To me, it seemed severe considering I was only 16 at the time. It was extremely embarrassing and difficult at times to manage with high school and later college.
I had all the typical symptoms...blood loss, mucus, stomach pain, TONS of gas (absolutely horrible smelling), and extremely liquidy bowel movements. When I was diagnosed I was anemic and had to have an iron transfusion and take iron supplements afterwards. At my worst I probably would go to the bathroom 10 times a day. My symptoms presented themselves about
a year after my parents got divorced, so it was probably stress induced since I took it really hard.
I was originally put on Asacol for the first 2 years with the disease and was given prednisone to get out of my flare ups. I continued to have flare ups and then went on azathioprine (also had to try suppositories once when I was 18, they did not help and were awful). The azathioprine was a little better for me, but I continued to get flare ups every 6 months or so and would have to take pred. In the summer of 2016 I had my worst flare up ever while I was traveling in Europe for 5 weeks. (Discovered I could get prednisone from pharmacies by just showing them my prescript
ion bottle, crazy!) I thought I was going to pass out on the plane back to the States from dehydration and blood loss and overall weakness.
As most of you can probably relate, prednisone made me gain weight, I felt ravenously hungry all the time, experienced water retention (I would drink throughout the day and hardly had to pee, then I would pee all night), irritability, moon face, and I got a buffalo hump at the base of my neck (which I still have
). I was on and off prednisone for the first 5 years, often starting at 40mg. But eventually that dose didn't improve my condition and had to be on 60mg for a couple weeks.
I was desperate to get off this horrible (but also life saving) steroid. I was also scared of being dependent on it long term. I wanted to find some more natural vitamin/supplements that would help. After trial and error, I discovered what supplements worked for me and stopped taking my prescript
ion medicines altogether!
For the last 4 years, I have been able to treat my colitis with the following:
-New Chapter Turmeric Force
-Slippery Elm capsules (Brand doesn't matter for me, I typically use Vitacost 800mg)
-VSL #3 Sachets ( I prefer them in smoothies, otherwise I will mix with yogurt)
If I notice a flare up starting or any pre-symptoms, I will take 3 of the turmeric force for a couple of days. Full disclosure: this is more than the recommended serving size on the bottle, but I find that when i'm flaring my body just doesn't absorb anything like normal. Please consult with your gastro about
this as I'm sure it's not recommended for everyone. But, that almost always makes the flare go away. If it does not, then I will continue taking 3 capsules of the turmeric everyday, increased to twice a day and also add in slippery elm throughout the day (this helps with mucus and blood loss as it coats the colon). The VSL #3 doesn't necessary help with getting over a flare up, but it does help me remain in remission.
Also, everyday I take fish oil, multivitamin (with iron, calcium, and vitamin D), and Super B Complex.
I felt like I should share what works for me. I often felt so alone while dealing with my colitis. This disease is so difficult and embarrassing at times. I mean, I've crap my pants more times than I am proud to admit! I really hope this post helps someone else on their journey.