If you’re Hiroshi, Masaki, Yoshitaka, and a bunch of others from Japan who completed some research that was published in February of 2013…I’m pretty sure that you’re answer is going to be a big fat, “YES! Life events can indeed cause/induce colitis flares”.
So once again, I was spending time reading through PubMed and another recent study was begging to be read. It’s title is:
(PubMed is an excellent resource, I reference it all the time. Besides the free newsletter here on the site, it’s one of the best resources for UC’ers. Here’s a page on how to use it: http://www.ihaveuc.com/learn-how-to-use-pubmed-for-free-its-amazingly-easy/)
You remember the GIGANTaticusly* massive earthquake and the resulting tsunami that struck Japan in March of 2011 right?
Well, there is a pretty incredible group of researchers and scientist who took the very unfortunate event as a time to complete some investigations regarding IBD. Since there has been so much talk about stressful times/situations leading to colitis flares, the researchers decided to find out if a massive earthquake could also induce a flare up between a large group of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
You may feel like you already know the answers, but I’m guessing you’ll probably still be surprised with some of the details and data.(There’s also several links to some other related studies that you too will find interesting).
As I’ve mentioned many times on this website, and especially when I’ve meet with others dealing with UC, I’m a firm believer that stress plays a part in our disease. “Stress” is nothing new to our species. Come on, we’ve been running away from lions and tigers out on the plains for thousands and thousands of years. I’m pretty sure our ancestors felt the stress there. I’m sure the cortisol and adrenaline was being released in those rare moments.
But as you relate, stress seems to be a daily, or many times a day thing in our modern society. Much more often than that once a month deal when the tiger was chasing us. And this constant stress is no good for our bodies. Our bodies are not supposed to be on a constant “side effects of stress overdrive”.
So what are we to do?
What can we do?
I’m hoping you will have some ideas.
I’ve developed an idea (or maybe a way of life/thinking) that’s worked well for me for several years now. It’s based on not “worrying/stressing” about situations/things in life that are out of my control. I’m not by any means perfect at it, but I definitely think that I’m getting better. And by reducing and trying to eliminate some of the parts of my previously daily life that were stressful, I think it is a major contributing factor in my remission periods.
Some things I’ve done:
- spent less time driving my car in big cities (I used to work full time in San Francisco driving around all day)
- Taken every opportunity to use public transportation instead of using a private car ($29/week for full metro/bus in Montreal…Oh YEAH! I think it was the same in NYC…ummm..can you say a CRAPLOAD CHEAPER too:)
- taken much more time preparing my own foods at home or at campsites (I used to stress on what the waiter would bring out too much)
- spent more time being out in the natural environment (over 60 days camping so far this year)
- Accepted the fact that my mom is probably always going to ask me about my plans 10 times in row (and forget 9-10 times in row) and that’s nothing to worry about
- Realized that some people are going to enjoy the stories I write here on iHaveUC, and others are not (that’s the way it is)
This is not some magic list by any means. And there’s some things I’ve left off which I’d rather keep private. But there may be some ideas above that may give you some ideas. That I don’t know. But at least you see where my head’s been at.
Back to Earthquakes and Tsunamis. These type of events I’m pretty sure are out of our control. I’m hoping that you are not worrying about the next one coming, to me that would be a waste of time, thinking, and just not worth it. But these sorts of things do happen, and unfortunately, it appears that they may affect ulcerative colitis people more than people with Crohn’s. Interesting I think. Give the research a read, and let me know what you think.
Thanks again for being a part of the site,
* “GIGANTaticusly” means big, or daaaaamn big, opposite of small, don’t worry if you’ve never heard or used before