I’m a 20 year old university student from Malta diagnosed with UC almost 2 years ago. My father was diagnosed with UC 6 years before me so when I started seeing blood in my stools and experiencing the normal UC symptoms, I knew what was wrong immediately.
Some more about me:
I love going out, exercising, and sometimes even playing some video games. I try to put a positive aspect on everything that happens in my life, especially since being diagnosed with UC!
Back to Peeing Like a Man
My colitis experience started with seeing blood in my stools. In a few days, this led to increasing trips to the toilet, diarrhea and so on…. I started comparing all the symptoms that I had with my dad and we immediately drawn up the conclusion that I had UC.
Upon being diagnosed, I was put on Mesalazine tablets and enemas. These only helped to reduce the trips to the toilet (to around 10-15 trips from 25+) but the blood and loose stools remained! After around 2 months with little improvement, Mesalazine tablets where out of stock in my country due to a shipping error and with only the enemas I returned back to square one – living more in the bathroom than anywhere else. My GI doc put me on Prednisolone (starting at 30mg and then tapering off slowly) in order to help my colitis. When the tablets where back in stock, my symptoms where reduced greatly and I even started to do some sports again. I have even participated in the Malta Half Marathon for the first time, which was a great achievement since all my family participated in that same day.
Fast forward a few weeks, I started feeling very weak & sleepy, and my UC symptoms started returning, but not as severe as before. Whenever I climbed a flight of steps or ran a few metres, I used to lose my breath and would have to stop for a few minutes to regain my energy. I told my doc about this and from the blood tests it resulted that I had a very low hemoglobin level (around 7 – it should be between 14 and 18) so I had to spend the night in hospital for a blood transfusion. After this I was put on Prednisolone for the second time, starting with 40mg daily. I finally had my energy levels restored and could catch up on studying for my university exams. Thanks to the side effects of steroids (namely insomnia and very big appetite), I only slept around 2 hours every night throughout the 3 week exam period – so I had enough time to study and get good grades!!
Since I could not be on Prednisolone all my life, my doc also put me on Azathioprine in order to stay in remission once the steroids are stopped. After around 2/3 months I was in remission, and after a year and half after my symptoms started I regained the ability of going to a toilet just to pee! This was the best feeling ever – I think all the male UC patients reading this will understand!
Throughout my UC journey, I have done a lot of research about colitis and the medications I was taking. One of the things that I discovered was that Mesalazine enemas have a side effect of having a more loose stool and that the coating on the Mesalazine tablets did not dissolve to release the drug in the right place if you have loose stools in your system. I thought this was a contradiction so I stopped taking the enemas for a few days. Since I saw an improvement, I told my doc and he agreed that my reasoning made sense and that I should stop the enemas since the tablets and Azathioprine where doing the job.
Regarding diet, I researched a lot but nothing was clear as to what exactly works or not. Due to university and going out etc, it’s tough to follow a strict diet. However I always noticed (especially during a flare up) that whenever I eat something that is not really healthy such as burgers or other fast food junk, my symptoms always seem to slow down. This is also with alcohol, milk and other dairy products which a lot of UC patients seem to avoid. I have now even adopted the habit of drinking a glass of milk whenever i see some blood in the toilet! I am now compiling a list of the foods that have ever caused me to flare up in order to determine my trigger foods. This is not really scientific but I think that you should try out new stuff on order to learn what your body is capable of and how to treat your colitis! You have to find what is good or bad for you!
written by Isaac
submitted in the colitis venting area