Is Warm Weather Beneficial?

elisabeth rIntroduction:

I am 55 years old, had colitis since birth, and was on various meds for 26 years of my life, I tried all I could to avoid surgery, including psychotherapy, self-help group, macrobiotic diet, acupuncture, homeopathic medicine to find a way out. Luckily I met a doctor in Singapore who told me that he had a really hard time during his doctoral research because there were no documented cases of the disease he was researching-colitis ulcerosa. I decided there and then to move to this miraculously colitis-free area. Since living in Malaysia, I have not had a single flare-up and will celebrate 30 years of remission next year.However, my 17 year old daughter was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis last week and is trying to come to terms with it.

This has made me come back into “study mode” and I want to find out how I can help her, and possibly myself, if I ever have another flare-up.

Some more about me:

I am a German living in Malaysia, I work as a translator. My hobbies are eating and shopping, as well as jewellery.

Symptoms:

I am in remission but feel occasional twinges.

Is Warm Weather Beneficial?

I have lived with UC for most of my life, since I was sick from birth, and I am very grateful that I managed a 29 year remission.I would very much like to know whether the climate factor has been important to anyone else? I read about one guy who was diagnosed after he moved from Florida to Washington,DC. Is that a big change in temperature? Some people have commented that it might be the absence of stress in my life, but that is impossible, because my life has been quite stressful, with a full time job, a part-time job, 4 children, traffic jams that Kuala Lumpur is famous for, a cross-cultural marriage,well you get the picture I hope. So I was not sitting under the coconut tree waiting for the monkey to bring me one.I thought all was well, colitis-wise until last week my daughter was hospitalized and after 8 days of futile searching they found that she had UC. I am now very worried that my 4 children might all be affected, since my 17 year o ld daughter has been diagnosed. Luckily we have alternative medicine practitioners around, so right now we are going to an acupuncturist and a homeopathy doctor as well as the normal western medicine hospital specialist.

We are currently experimenting with foods, what does least excite Mr Tum-tum, and so far we found roast chicken, fish noodle soup, steamed vegetables and yoghurt to be quite helpful and not upsetting. I am very interested in other people’s experience, both with current situations, and long-term effects. Since I am planning to retire in 5 years, I wonder about the increased cancer risk, and would be grateful to hear other’s experiences. I was soooo happy to be out of the whole colonoscopy/barium enema-x-ray diagnostic cycle, that I dread doing it again. But as I am now 55 I think I should maybe have a checkup. No symptoms though.Happy to hear from all of you.

Medications:

My best experience was with acupuncture, and homeopathic medicine helped a lot too. I enjoyed attending a psychotherapy self-help group which opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of great people are sick and I am not some abnormal freaky loser.

Other than that I have been on Sulfsalazine most of my life, with steroids for a year and immune suppressants.

written by Elisabeth R

submitted in the colitis venting area

9 Responses to “Is Warm Weather Beneficial?”

  1. Wendy NZ
    wendyOctober 30, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    WOW – this is the first time I have seen someone suggest that warm weather might affect UC, although I have believed so for the last 15 years, ie since I was diagnosed. For the first few years, when I was quite sick, I thought it was just that in summer I am more active both physically and socially and have a general lift in mood – I am in New Zealand, so summer coincides with Christmas holidays which for me means six weeks holidays as well. Along with that is a change in diet simply because with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables, many homegrown, I eat lighter and fresher. I have now been in remission for about three years and do now eat a lot more fruit and vegetables all year. My specialist has taken a much greater interest in my diet in the last few years (originally he said it was immaterial, except to be balanced). Personally I think the summer combination – more exercise, fresh air, fresh fruit and vegetables, good mood – have a huge affect. Now..how do I make summer last all year???? I hope this helps and that your daughter follows your path to better health.

  2. bevOctober 30, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Great post!

    Thank you
    :)

  3. Mary S
    MaryOctober 30, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    No doubt in my mind that weather plays a part in UC. I live in New York State and the temperature changes of spring and fall contribute to my flares. Once the weather changes completely to summer or winter I am much better but I found it easier to get into remission in the summer. I will stay on a small dose of asacol through the winter and see how it goes next spring.

  4. mjOctober 31, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Hi Elisabeth,

    I always had a feeling warm
    weather is more beneficial for colitis! I live in Sydney so get plenty of hot summers but I always feel like my UC, mood gets worse in the winter.

    I get regular acupuncture treatments for my UC and one of the interesting things I learnt is that if my UC was bad/flared – the skin of my whole lower stomach area was cold to touch, even if the rest of my body was warm. And I’d always have heat lamps on my stomach/bowel as part of the session. Heat is definitely beneficial.

    I’m actually about to visit Langkawi, Malaysia (& Singapore) for the first time next week – and was worried about the food situation because I’m on SCD. My UC has improved unbelievably since being on this diet, meaning I can travel without needing to know where the nearest bathroom is! I think if I just stick to chicken, fish, fruit & veggies I should be ok.

    Best of luck to your daughter with coping with UC. I was diagnosed at that age too (I’m 31). The important thing to remember is that it doesn’t control your life, I was still partying and going out heaps in my early 20′s. I let stress/bad diet get to me this year & paid the price. So I’ve shifted my focus to my health! If you get the balance right – nutrition, rest, treatments (western/alternative/TCM) you can live a happy life :)

    • ColOctober 31, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

      Elisabeth,
      I am on SCD and spent a week in Langkawi last year and did very well. The thing about South East Asian cuisine is that from the get go it’s basis is whole foods and not processed stuff. Plus on an island they especially rely on fresh ingredients because transporting food/other goods there expensive. There are some hidden sugars in sauces and stuff, but just go light on those and you should be fine. The seafood on Langkawi is amazing. You’ll love it. Enjoy!

      • ColOctober 31, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

        Whoops sorry meant that comment to mj!

  5. Sharon MacArthurOctober 31, 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    As a Florida native, currently living in South Florida, I have struggled more with flares in the last 3 years than I did while living in Delaware for a few years in a much colder climate. In fact, I have just made it back to the land of remission after a few really rough months. If warmer weather helps, August in South Florida should have been enough to keep me flare-free.

    • bevOctober 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

      I have to chime in here as well…I had worse flares in the summer for some reason, than in the winter. I hate the heat…maybe weather contributes o flares and maybe not…

  6. ColOctober 31, 2013 at 6:22 pm #

    Great post, Elisabeth.

    I’ve thought about this too a lot–I think the change in cuisine from season to season affects me. I eat a lot less in the summer because it’s so hot where I live, and that likely plays into it too. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I am making hearty soups and more meet dishes. I think it’s an adjustment for the old GI tract when it comes to digesting what goes in.

    I also go to acupuncture and my practitioner explained to me the other day that in Chinese medicine, different seasons are connected to different parts of the body, and autumn is the bowels/intestines, which means people tend to have more GI problems during that season as things cool down. I guess you can take it or leave it depending what you believe, but as he pointed out this is based on thousands of years of research!

    Elisabeth, do you you eat a predominantly Malaysian/South East Asian diet?

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