As a 63 year old female, I quickly learned that having UC was rare for someone my age. I had a heck of a time getting a colonoscopy scheduled that wasn’t routine. We’d recently moved so it was a challenge to find a GI doc and even though I explained about the bleeding and tissue/mucus discharge, it was explained away as hemorrhoids and IBS. Well. That all changed quickly at the colonoscopy. I currently have eight inches of UC proctitis that has been flaring for three months.
Some more about me:
Originally from the Bay Area, we’re now in Boulder, CO and love it! I had expectations of buying a new bike this summer and hiking some of the many trails around our home, but looks like that may now have to wait till next year.
Currently bleeding mostly in the mornings and at night. Some cramping, but I think I’ve identified that as a new dairy sensitivity. I’m avoiding dairy for now to check that out, and I suspect it could be age related. Still have tissue/mucus discharge, but it’s now diminished (I know, I know, it’s supposed to be all mucus, but it sure looks like tissue to me!)
63 Year Old UC Patient
After being diagnosed from my colonoscopy, I was prescribed nightly Cortemena enemas and VSL#3. I did that for two weeks before my next appointment, but frankly, didn’t see any improvement at all. At the second appointment, I learned that my doctor would be on vacation for the next three weeks, and he said to just continue what I was doing until he came back. I was getting weaker and sicker, with no decrease in bleeding at all.
I was finally able to see my PCP just last week and she went into action. I’ve now been on a prednisone burst and Cipro 500/mg/2x/day. I don’t bleed at all during the day now, but still have bleeding in the am when I wake up, and for some reason it seems to start again as I get ready for bed. One of the concerns I had with my GI doc (which for some reason he didn’t understand) was my lack of diarrhea. In fact, I couldn’t go to the bathroom AT ALL. My PCP explained that most people hold their bowel down low, but I apparently hold mine quite high in my colon, and it could not get past the swelling. So I now have to keep myself on the side of diarrhea — nightly miralax, MOM every 2-3 days, and prune juice. And it’s worked well. That’s a relief.
I’m still doing the nightly enemas, but I think they’re not affecting anything. The prednisone has been great for me, as my symptoms started to resolve in just 48 hours. I do worry if there’s more that can be done to really shut this down after the prednisone burst. And does that really end it? I’m not sure what happens after.
My husband has been amazingly supportive. We had so many plans for this summer and he’s not complained at all about our cancelled plans. He just wants me to get well so we can move on.
My big concern now is overwhelming fatigue. It seems if I’m on my feet more than about 20 minutes I have to sit down. I’m sleeping every afternoon for at least two hours, and I’m even sleeping through most of the night, in spite of the prednisone. I’d welcome any advice for boosting my immune system for more energy. I’m a very healthy eater (lots of fruits and vegees, but not crazy) and, except for dairy, don’t think I’ve had any problems with food. I saw the video for Adam’s smoothy and will definitely be trying that!
I think my GI doc is a joke. He’s maybe good at looking up your butt to diagnose, but during the six weeks since my colonoscopy I’ve not had one phone call from his office to ask how I’m doing. I see my PCP again next Monday, and have an appointment with him on Tuesday. At that time I expect he’ll have me start to taper off the enemas and I’ll be done with him and just continue with my PCP for now.
The good news is that I’ve read that for older UC patients it may be harder to treat, but once it’s gone it’s likely not to come back. That is my expectation!
Medications / Supplements
Cortemena enemas, nightly, no effect that I can see
VSL#3 – discontinued for now. May start again after flare ends
Prednisone burst – 40 mg/x4 days, 30 mg x4 days, 20 mg x4 days,….
Cipro – 500 mg/2x day, for 10 days
Currently avoiding dairy to see if I have an age-related sensitivity
written by Susan B
submitted in the colitis venting area