Ulcerative Colitis, and how to live with(out) it

Keeping Yourself healther with Diet, Lifestyle, and Alternative Medicine

First things you find out after the surgery

One of the first things I found out about having an internal pouch is that it takes the intestine a while to adjust to the new positioning, and some places along the 'track' have a few tight angles in them, where things can get stuck. My first problem was with carrots, where a piece that was not properly chewed got stuck. Very, very painful, and it can take a long time to clear up. So my suggestion for anybody is to not eat things that have very hard pieces for at least a year or two.  This also includes such things as corn and other hard-shelled vegetables as well as mushrooms. I even had a problem with white meat turkey in the beginning. You learn. The hard way.

The next thing that I was introduced to was the fact that, although the bleeding had stopped for the most part, it was not completely gone. A sigmoidostomy showed that the inner linings of the intestine was still very much inflamed, and would start bleeding when touched to much. The usual gastrointestinal expert's solution to this problem is always the same as that of any other doctor: Prescribe some pills. In this case, anti-inflammatories. Besides being against my no dependencies rule, it's also quite expensive to be on those for your entire life, and heaven only knows what the side-effects are to being on them for thirty to forty years. So, true to my nature, I refused. Instead I looked at my behaviour, and started analysing. After about a year of this, I finally put two and two together and traced one of the causes of this to chlorinated city water.  Drink a glass of this stuff, bleed strongly within two hours.

On a side note to the chlorinated city water: When I first noticed blood in my stool, I was of course very concerned, and observing it on a daily basis. One thing that I noticed was that, that summer I went on vacation, camping in the Rocky Mountains, and drank from natural springs, and the bleeding went away. Once I got back to the city, it returned. At the time, I did not catch on to the correlation between the two items. After all, my doctor told me that I had haemorrhoids, and what does one know at sixteen about the way the medical community works anyway. Now it is perfectly obvious, but when you are in the middle of things, it's always harder to judge things.

After having cut out the chlorinated water from my diet, the situation got much, much better, but still not perfect. So I kept looking. Now, another thing that, according to my first gastrointestinal expert happens to all people who have had major surgery done on their intestine is something he called Pouchitis. I have no idea if anybody else calls it that, but it is basically a chronic bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the intestine. The medical solution: Antibiotics, of course, Flaggyl, to be precise. Flaggyl is a special antibiotic that fights and kills anaerobic bacteria, and I am told by several people is the best in that particular field. There are two problems that I have with Flaggyl. One, it tastes horrible. It leaves a terrible, horrible taste in your mouth, and after three days, that is the only thing you taste. After five, you feel like throwing up on a constant basis, at least that is my experience with it. It was not like that in the beginning, but it seems the reaction builds the more times you have taken it. And Secondly: Besides not wanting to take anything on a constant or even semi constant basis, I want to keep Flaggyl in reserve, not to grow either immune to it, or have something inside of me grow immune to it. My experience is that, the longer you take something, the less well it works. So, I look for alternatives. But before we get off the topic of Flaggyl, one thing that I have learned is that there are different manufacturers, and even though the end effect seems to be the same, that is, to kill anaerobic bacteria, the amount of bad taste they leave in your mouth differs significantly. If you decide to go for the generic pills, make sure they are well coated. There is one type that I came across that basically deteriorated in your mouth before you ever had a chance to swallow it, and that was the worst. My personal preference is actually to use the brand-name type, because it comes in capsule form, and therefore takes a while to dissolve. The Problem with the brand-name type is that it only comes in 500 mg, and that is a very high dosage, but what I usually do is to open up the capsule and pour half of it out, then close it again. Hey, you have to be inventive to survive in this world.

The story continues here: Living with(out) Ulcerative Colitis, Time passes ...

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Disclaimer: These as well as all the other documents on this website are based on my own personal experiences, and are not a replacement of a professional opinion by a qualified physician, for all that this was worth in my case. The purpose of sharing my experiences with you is to help you get through this, and to learn of other ways of dealing with your condition. I am not a medical doctor, I don't have any sort of formal training in this or any other medical field. The only thing I can offer you is what it was like for the past 20+ years and what it is like now, and in the future. Any advice I give is to be taken into consideration, and you are welcome to act upon it at your own risk. I am not saying it will help you, or that it will not hurt you, all I am saying is that this is what I learned, and I am wanting to share it with you. After that, you have my best wishes for success and happiness. And if you find something that works for you, please, share it with the world, because we need to know more than what modern medicine is telling us, which is not enough. Be well.
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