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How Long Was Your First Flare Since Being Diagnosed with Colitis?

Eli down by the water

Eli down by the water

Hello everyone my name is Eli, I am 19 years old and got diagnosed with mild Ulcerative Colitis on August 1st of this year.

I am just wondering how long a flare can last because for me it seems like an eternity, going on more than 1 month while figuring out a right diet and keeping my flare under control.

I am just looking for advice from people who have more experience, I really need help figuring this out and getting my life back!

Thank you.

Some more about Eli:

I am an outgoing type of guy, currently in third year university, I am a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at the University of Ottawa in Canada.

I love watching hockey, use to play soccer, love dairy and fatty foods but my UC kind of shut the door on those types of food. I dont know what else to add, im just your average canadian guy!

Current Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms:

Right now, I have bloody diarrhea, only go to the bathroom during the morning and before bed so about three times a day, cramping is still present but minimal and the stool is liquidy.

I am still on a flare because I got diagnosed little over a month ago so still trying to figure everything out. I only received my diagnosis this week on September 15th 2014, I have mild UC on my left side so im on 40mg of Prednisone a day.

How Long Was Your First Flare Since Being Diagnosed with Colitis?

So I am just wondering on how to stop a flare up if there are any normal remedies, I’ve seen a lot of people with UC making their own juice blend but I am scared of trying any fruit because I’m still on a flare.

Since being diagnosed I’ve lost 50 pounds, had to pretty much put my life on hold for a bit until this flare is gone so as soon as I was diagnosed I was scared because I didn’t know what it was and just became a grumpy fellow as the pain just got worse by the days. Right now I am doing much better, gained 5 pounds but I still have mild cramping and urgency to go to the bathroom with a bloody stool.

I am currently on Prednisone 40mg a day started it on September 15th 2014 so a week ago now.

I am just curious to ask other people, how long did your first flare last since being first diagnosed with UC?. For me its been a month and 20 days and my flare is still present but less active as before. I am just wondering if my full recovery from it will take up to a year or 6 months, so if you feel like sharing your story please do.

Currently I’ve been on a low residual diet so I minimized my fiber intake yet I still have some discomfort. To give seasoning to my food I only put salt, Turmeric and Cumin, before going on Prednisone I felt no pain or bloody stool but while on Prednisone the bloody stool and cramping came back so I was wondering if Prednisone could be the cause of it or is it just the spices.

UC just flipped my life upside down and I need help to stop this flare and just have a worry free feeling of going out of the house without the worrying factor of locating a bathroom every 5 seconds.

written by Eli Z

submitted in the colitis venting area

14 thoughts on “How Long Was Your First Flare Since Being Diagnosed with Colitis?”

  1. Hi Eli! You’ve come to the right place! You will find so many inspiring people and ideas here, and it will help you find your own way to live with this condition! Just know that a flare could last for a very long time. The longest I have had was six months and currently I am in one that has been going on for two months, but I am doing better each day. Yesterday I was able to take my dog on a fifteen minute walk and today I did some gardening for about a half hour. Those are huge steps for me right now. You have to look at all the little improvements to keep your sanity sometimes. It’s a new normal.

    I am also currently on a low residue diet, which is good because all the fibery and fresh foods I’m used to would be wrecking my gut right now. It’s tough but I know once I feel better I can chow down on my salads, fruits, and veggies and beans! Patience with the diet, then once you’re starting to feel better, slowly add in some foods. Us UCers can have really rich, interesting, and healthy diets. You won’t really feel like you’re missing out on much!

    At the moment I am trying to gain weight and get enough calories so I am eating a lot of chicken, turkey, or fish, sometimes beef, and I mix up my sides between rice and different varieties of potato. If you are also following the low residue diet, you can eat plain white bread, for example, which I normally don’t eat, but right now it helps me get some calories. I can also eat eggs and yogurt. Sometimes I make a smoothie with yogurt, almond milk, bananas, and peanut butter. That’s like a small meal or snack in between. You’re doing well staying away from fiber for now. It won’t be forever!

    Keep getting better, Eli!

    1. Yeah im glad to find out there are other people that are in the same situation as I am, thank God my UC is mild and on the left side plus I am in remission right now which is great! I am currently still on the low residue diet and yeah white bread, chicken , rice and fish are my life right now. I appreciate your feedbacks Rebeka and support really means a lot, I hope you get better soon.

  2. Well, hopefully since it’s been a few weeks, you’re feeling somewhat better. It takes just a bit longer for Prednisone to really kick in. It should help knock the flare down, but it’s not a medication to be on for long-term. There are other medications that are more appropriate for maintenance and have fewer potential side effects, so hopefully you’re discussing those with your doctor. You need to be seeing a GI specialist if you’re not already. A general practitioner just isn’t knowledgeable enough about GI diseases, and certainly won’t be up to date on GI research and things like that.

    Everyone’s story is different when it comes to diet and other things they choose to try in managing this disease. I think all of us wish there were ONE method that would work for everyone, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I seem to have read a number of stories lately of people trying to stay off medication, living in constant flare, only eating chicken broth and cooked carrots or some such crazy diet. Our bodies were not meant to survive on that. I would encourage you not to make the mistake of restricting your diet so much that you’re not getting adequate nutrition. If it’s necessary to be on some medication so that you can tolerate more foods, so be it. There seems to be enough research and/or anecdotal evidence to say that dairy, gluten, alcohol, coffee, and processed foods high in fat/sugar are inflammatory, so steer clear of those. Beyond that, you have to decide what to try. Some people find supplements like turmeric, boswelia, l-glutamine, and probiotics helpful. Keep a journal of what you eat, how you feel after, what your bathroom trips are like, etc. and you may start to notice patterns. If you’re able to do it, going on a complete elimination type diet, where you start off eating just a few specific foods for over a week, then slowly reintroduce one new food every few days to notice whether it bothers you, may be helpful to identify any trigger foods. (There are books/websites out there to guide you in doing this type of diet.) Some people seem to have success with the SCD or low FODMAPs diets. Do you eat in a cafeteria, or fix meals? The more you can make for yourself, the better, as you will be able to control what goes in your body. Learn to be happy with simple meals. Your taste buds can and will change over time so that you appreciate the taste of more simple foods. I like Rebeka’s idea of making smoothies to add extra nutrition in your diet. Learn how to make green smoothies too, that combine fruits and veggies in a form your body can more easily absorb. Don’t sweat giving up dairy. Almond milk is easy to make in a blender and so yummy! Or there are a few in those aseptic cartons without too many ingredients. You can use that almond milk (or soy milk) to make your own probiotic yogurt too! This might seem weird, but I’m going to recommend a kitchen appliance I just bought called the Instant Pot. You can get it off, but I think it’s best to order directly from the Canadian company at It’s a “7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker–Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer.” (Don’t pay full price. Use the code “AJ” when you order to get $50 off. Chef AJ is a well-known plant-based chef, and website is if anyone’s interested in her videos using the Instant Pot.) I got it to steam veggies, make soups, and make the probiotic yogurt in, and so far I LOVE it! It’s the kind of machine where you dump in your ingredients, push a couple buttons, go do something else, and come back to a hot meal! I haven’t done the yogurt yet, but has how-to videos. I know, I know, you’re a young guy and might not be into cooking, but if you’re going to take your health seriously, take control now and learn how to make a few simple things yourself. It’s super easy to pressure cook a sweet potato, make rice, or throw veggies/broth in the pot to make a soup. When the yogurt’s done, you can flavor it with fresh fruit or jam, or even strain it to make a “cream cheese” to put on toast, etc. I’m eager to try it and add herbs/onion powder etc. Yum!

    Anyway, enough about my new kitchen toy. I just think it’s so important to get away from all the processed “foods” that our current food system is shoving at us, and get back to the basics of simple food. Something like 70-80% of what’s on store shelves contain GMO ingredients, and the jury’s still out on whether they’re safe! Read labels, know what you’re eating. Long story short, do the best you can to eat simply and healthfully. Diet may not be the cause or cure for this disease, but what we put in our bodies at each meal most definitely affects our overall health. Good luck with figuring out what works best for you.

  3. Eli,
    Hi…I just wanted to tell you to please look into the magic of Probiotics.
    They are wonderful. I take the ones called VSL #3…it is specific for ulcerative colitis and chrons disease. You can also get probiotics at a health store.
    Eli, I hope that things get better for you SOON. Good luck fella. :)

    1. Hey Debbie, yeah I will look into it thanks for the suggestion, I am currently taking probiotics but if there is one for UC specifically I will definitely buy it!

  4. Hi Eli,
    I was diagnosed 5 years ago and am on my 3rd flare, the 1st one was for about 6 months . I think that is because it is new and we don’t understand it and get stressed more. Since then the flares have not been as long because now I know that I am not going to die and I can handle it without so much stress. I am coming out of one now, which came on 3 months ago when my husband was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Just hang in there Eli it will soon pass. it is a terrible thing to have and only us, the special ones know what it is like.

  5. Hey Shirley,

    Yeah stress is a big factor but with time I feel like I figured out my diet plan for now and it is working out great! My UC is a mild type but yeah you’re right it is a terrible thing to experience however it made me appreciate the taste and value of food even more as I was a picky eater before. Thank you for taking the time to comment I appreciate the support! Hope you feel better.

  6. Patience! It’s a vicious cycle: you see bloody stool you get stressed out you get worse and so on and so on….. I’ve had UC for ten years. At the beginning my flare up lasted a few weeks. I had my worse flare up which landed me in the hosp for a week. I started with diarrhea for six month and if got worse over a period of two weeks following a cruise I went on. (It was probably worsen because I didn’t eat very well during that week). The first thing is to set your mind that you will get better. For some of us it takes longer. Diet is important but during a flare sometimes you can’t eat well, you loose your appetite. Nothing tastes good. And sometimes you don’t even eat because you don’t want to poop. Again, patience. You will go through this flare up and you will get better. Your doctor may have to play with the meds to see which works for you. This shall pass soon!!!

  7. Hey Eli,
    I was diagnosed back in April 2012 with minor symptoms. It was August 30 2013 (I remember the day vividly it all started the day my husband’s wonderful grandfather died.) It was September 2013 I went and had a colonoscopy and my mild UC went to severe uc and since then I’m just now coming out of my flare. This has been the longest year of my life. I’ve tried diet which worked wonders for a week or so, apriso, 6mp, uceris, humira, steroids for the past year, and just now took my 4 remicade treatment and I’m beginning to be able to leave the house again. My doctor is hoping to have this flare under control and any future ones not as long or frequent. Hope you can keep stress down and just know you got this and an incredible support group here that has been there and done that and some still doing it:) Good luck to you:)

  8. Thank you everyone for the tips, all this is useful information, I tried almond and soy milk but for me I prefer normal milk, I will try and buy non-lactose milk which I tried before during a flare and did not see any problems with it, I never had an issue with dairy before UC so im hopeful that i’m able to go back to eating dairy soon.

    I do have a GI, he is very good if anyone lives in ottawa, ON Canada, Dr.Abunassar is a great doc! So far i’ve learned how to cook many things which my girlfriend appreciates as well, but I feel that over this past week that i’m on the right track as every bathroom trip has been a success.

    I’ m very grateful Adam for this website really makes you feel like you belong apart of a community if you could say that, just the support system is awesome and for me that reduces my stress about UC.

  9. Hi Eli-

    I don’t want to be a downer, but for me flares can last quite a while. Mine usually last 6 months or more. It’s not too terrible the whole time, but it can take a while to get back to normal. For me flares can usually be broken into 2 phases- acute (not able to leave my house) to non-acute (leaving my house, but constantly focused on where the nearest restroom is, just in case!).

    My suggestions:
    1. Probiotics
    2. Omega 3 Fish Oil Supplement (check with your doctor)
    3. What medicine will you be transitioning onto when you wean the prednisone? Find this out. Since diagnosis I have never been flare free off of medicine (regardless of diet). Prednisone is only a short term fix. Usually you start your other medicine(s) while on the prednisone.
    4. Enemas- are you using them? Ask your doctor if they’d help.
    5. Stay hydrated- water, herbal tea, whatever works for you
    6. Make sure you rest enough.
    7. If it gets really bad, check with your doctor. I’ve had really good success with a 3 day liquid diet- just enough time to give my guts a little rest.

    Good luck. It really will get better!

  10. Hi Eli,

    I have UC too and am also 19! I was diagnosed when I was 8 years old with relatively mild ulcerative proctitis, but since then it has gotten a little more severe and spread higher on the left side. I was put on Prednisone for the first time about three years ago and it helped me SO much when I was in a bad flare. I was on 40 just like you and it took about a week or two for it to really kick in, but slowly my symptoms decreased and within a month I felt back to my old self again. It takes some time, so don’t get discouraged but Prednisone really zaps the inflammation. I had some trouble coming off it, though, as symptoms returned when I dropped down to 30, but then I just went back up to 40 for another two weeks and tried decreasing the dosage again and it was much better coming off that time. Also, try taking probiotics. I was on Florastor for a while as well as Culturelle. Sometimes a cobo of two different probiotics is most helpful. Also, if your disease is low down, you might benefit from topical therapy such as Canasa 5ASA suppositories or Cortenema, or Rawasa (a 5ASA enema). Good luck, I hope you feel better soon!

  11. Hi – Yes definitely take the probiotics. And I take coconut oil as well. Huge difference. You can get coconut oil in various forms – I take the soft gels or capsules. I avoid drugs and particularly yeast based products. Yeast is very often linked to U/C and coconut oil does an excellent job in combating this problem. Wishing you well.

  12. Hello Eli and everyone….Im back with my first flare up for five years and diagnosed with UC for past 20….im one week into the prednisolone…40 mg also…..the thing is as my specialist points out theres no evidence to the condition being diet related nor stress related as the stress comes from the condition…Its no fun is it ? you just have to learn to adapt…and know where every god damn loo is on your journeys.(And hope they are clean and empty !) a DJ radio jock i dont really do locking up inside the home…the norm for me in the past has nomally been a 3 month turn around….ive been advised to stick to grilled chicken mash potatoes and mushy peas for a couple of weeks but that isnt always practical given steroids make me want to eat everything in easy grasp…..its comforting to know so many people suffer and we are by no means unique…i find sharing my experience also helps people to understand more….keep the faith normailty will come back untill the next time…

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