Living with Colitis as a College Student


I am 23 years old, I was diagnosed when I was 16. I am a college student right now trying to cope with the stress of school and my UC.

Some more about me:

Come from a big family where UC runs in my family. My father has Crohn’s Disease and my sister has ulcerative colitis too.

Current Symptoms:

I currently am suffering a flare up right now. Just been having to run to the bathroom constantly. Been feeling really tired and weak. I have no energy to do anything

Living with Colitis in College

I was diagnosed when I was 16 years old, I am now 23 so I have been living with UC for seven years now. When I first was diagnosed it was a very mild case but I feel like throughout the years my symptoms have gotten worse. Right now I am going through a flare up and it is very difficult for me. I go to school full time and I work three days a week so I think the stress of school and work is not helping my symptoms. I feel very tired and weak all the time like I just want to sleep. School is adding to the stress alot because I have to do lots of public speaking and anybody without Ulcerative Colitis gets nervous, so you can only imagine how nervous someone gets that does have Ulcerative Colitis.

Its very hard for me to concentrate on my school work and go to work because of the little energy I have. I am taking my medication which I am currently on Asacol and 10mg prednisone, and I am still having a flare up. I get scared to leave my house or do anything where I don’t know where the bathroom is or if there is even a bathroom around. Well I just wanted to share my story with others who are going through the same thing as I am. I know you all will understand what I am going through and looking forward to hearing all your support! I would just like to hear from anyone going through what I am going through and any advice would help.

What have any of you used in the past to help with the flare ups?
How do I go on with everyday duties without thinking about my flare up constantly?


Prednisone 10mg

written by Stephy

submitted in the colitis venting area

13 thoughts on “Living with Colitis as a College Student”

  1. Stephy

    Sorry to hear about your current situation. I too did public speaking for about 8 years in the morning, when I typically had the most trouble with my UC symptoms. I wouldn’t eat before these engagements which seemed to help.

    I’m not a Physician but speaking from expirence ( have UC since 1994 ) I believe the dosage of prednisone you’re taking isn’t enough to get you into remission. 40-60 mgs. For a period of time, then taper off, as directed by your Dr. Might work better.

    You may consider taking 6 Mp or other immune suppressing medication to get you in remission a lot faster.


    1. Hi Tim,

      Its nice to hear all the support! Well I started on 40mg of prednisone and went down to 5mg right now. I cannot wait to be off of this for good, the side effects are horrible. But I am feeling much better now maybe because I am not stressed out as much! Thanks for the advice and hope you are doing well!


      1. Glad to read you’re doing better! Prednisone does have side effects but it’s temporary … it’s all about the quality of life … right. When your symptoms deminish mentally you’re not as stressed out so you feel better. Hang in there!!

  2. I have had UC for about 6 years now and I am also a college student. I try to have a light breakfast before class so I don’t have to run in and out of the bathroom. Try cutting out all foods you eat and slowly reintroduce them. I just went through a flare up, For two days i tried to eat bland to calm it down and then I went back to normal foods. Try chicken it is the easiest meat for the stomach to digest. I can thankfully say im in remission, I am also on Asacol, two pills twice a day. Stay up on your research. It took me really researching and getting scared of what could happen if i kept having flare ups to really buckle down on my diet

  3. Stephy,

    I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time right now. I am also 23 and working full time as a paramedic. I’m not in school right now because I was hospitalized during the time that I was due to return and didn’t think it would be good for me to have the extra stress. I can only imagine what you are going through.

    I am only recently diagnosed (Oct 2012) and still learning the ins and outs of dealings with flares but it sounds like your prednisone dose is probably too low to combat your flare right now. If you are actively going that bad right now you should probably be up higher in the realm of 40mg and then taper as you improve. That’s the point where I am right now and also just started Humira 2 weeks ago. From personal experience I would discourage 6mp but that is up to you and your doctor. When I was put on it I ended up with debilating nausea and vomiting that wouldn’t respond to Zofran and weakness that kept me mostly confined to my bed. Every body is different obviously but that was just my personal experience. Probably work on trying for a bland diet right now and meeting with your GI to work out a better combat plan for the present time.

    I hope things work out and your flare calms down!


    1. I started off at 40 and tapered down to 5mg which is what I’m on right now. I kinda stopped taking it because of the side effects but when I saw my doctor he put me back on. I’m actually doing much better now! Thanks for the advice!!

    2. Also, bring up to your doctor about your hemoglobin level. Mine had dropped down to 6 and I needed to have a blood transfusion and 2 iron infusions. That could play a role in why you feel so weak (outside of the obvious reasons.)

      Just wanted to add! Hope you feel better!

  4. Hi Stephy!

    I’m in grad school now, and was diagnosed when I was 14 so I know exactly what you’re going through! The trick is to manage your stress. I went through a 5 year undergrad program for architecture which was very intense and at times stressful (also lots of public speaking). So I made sure I had friends who knew what I was going through as well as I went to the Office of Disabilities and my professors directly. I explained (briefly what was going on) so that if I needed to leave class quickly they’d understand and could make accommodations. And they’re all are really understanding and care about your well being which takes a huge amount of stress off. I agree with Tim that your prednisone is maybe too low and I really hope that you haven’t been on it constantly, it should really be tapered off at some point. You should also be taking multi-vitamins. Vit. C, B-12, Vit. D will help (especially B-12 with energy). I’ve been on Remicade for 9 years (it’s been my life saver), so again I agree with Tim, if the Asacol isn’t working time to move on.

    I know you’ll get through this! Just try to keep your stress low (I know its easier said than done), which will help with the flare, or talk to your doctor about trying something new. Try yoga or try something that’ll force you to not think about it for a few hours (I scuba dive because you can’t let your mind wander or focus on things irrelevant to not running out of air haha). Also, SLEEP a lot, get at least 8 hours, sleeps a stress reliever. My friends would also come hang out at my apartment when i wasn’t up for going out. Good luck!


  5. Stephy, I was diagnosed just 6 months ago with this wonderful condition called UC… (Yes, sarcasm intended there, folks…LOL) As a motorcycle rider, as well as a public speaker it really has thrown a wrench in what I would have considered a “normal” life… I pulled myself out of any kind of speaking engagement, parked the bike and became a hermit for the first 4 months… (And if you’ve never heard a motorcycle cry, it’s not a pretty sound…) It wasn’t until about 6 weeks ago that I realized how much I had closed myself off from the world… I’m a member of Toastmasters, which is an international non-profit organization that teaches and hones leadership and speaking skills… In the last 13 years that I’ve been a member, I’ve not seen anyone deal with a physical condition such as UC… Because I also do speeches on behalf of a domestic violence shelter (as a survivor), I found I missed speaking, I missed seeing the audiences, and I missed just being part of the world around me… So what am I doing to do? The same thing I’m going to recommend that you do, Stephy… Get out there…

    Yes, it’s going to take some planning… Most of my friends are also Toastmasters and know about my UC… And as has been recommended already, talk to those folks around you and make sure they understand about your condition and what your limits are… Be careful of what you eat prior to a speaking engagement… Drink plenty of water beforehand… I tend to stop the water when I get stressed and have found that makes it worse for me… Practice your speech until you just can’t stand it anymore… The more muscle memory you have for the speech in your mind AND your choreography (gestures, facial movements, etc) the easier it will be for you to stress less about the upcoming speech… Practice in the shower, the car, in your bed, in the elevator, wherever you have a few minutes alone… Let your body and mind become comfortable with the speech…

    If you’re going to speak in a new venue, scope it out beforehand to find the closest restroom… I’m so blessed to have friends who, when they know I want to try some place new (supermarket, theater, whatever) will run by there sometime beforehand, find the restroom and then let me know where it is… It’s amazing how that little piece of information can ease the mind…

    Ok, I’m going to get some laughs over this one, and that’s ok… When I first started going back out into the world, someone jokingly suggested “Depends”… I was so humiliated and thought, “I’m only 45 years old and I’ll be derned if I’m wearing those old people things!” Secretly, I went on Amazon, found some and ordered them… I was soooo terrified the first time I ventured out with them… BUT, the confidence it gave me to know that IF I should have an accident I was covered, was worth every dime I paid… I wore them off and on the first week, and haven’t needed them (knock on wood) since then… BUT it got me out there, is my point… It gave me the confidence to step out and not scurry back into my comfortable home where I know all the toilet paper rolls by their first names…

    I agree that you might want to ask your Doc about upping the Pred… I started out on 80, which is a very high dose… BUT it helped kick my body out of neutral and as the Doc started bringing me back down out of that cloud, my body has responded very well…

    You can do this, Stephy… I KNOW you can… You’re a strong woman, who has things to say… Say them, be proud of those words and get yourself out there! Break a leg, Kiddo!


  6. Stephy

    Bethany and Angela provided you with some good info. I just wanted to add that a GOOD quality ( spend a little more money) fish body oil helps me. If you reasearch fish oil it helps the body rid it’s self of inflamation. I’ve also read on this web site that several people with UC have had good results with olive oil … can’t hurt to try.

  7. Sorry … failed to mention how much fish oil I take … 3 grams daily, 1 in the morning, 1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening.

    Hope that helps you!!

  8. Hi, I’m 20, have UC and also a full time student…about a year ago I was in a similar situation with no energy etc…when I told my doc about it, it resulted that i had a very very low haemoglobin level (from blood tests) and they had to do a blood transfusion to get the level back up! He said that my body was losing too much good blood in flare ups and not replacing accordingly! I was also put on a larger dose of prednisone (I believe 40mg at the beginning) and finally I had my energy back, a higher morale, concentration to start studying again, and best of all, the flares stopped! Maybe you should talk about your situation with your doc to see what you can do!

  9. Hi Stephy!

    Oddly enough, it’s kind of a relief to know I’m not the only one in those shoes! I am in almost the same exact position as you. I am almost 21 and going to college to be a Vet. I was diagnosed when I was about 16-17, so about 4 years ago, with Celiac Disease, UC, and a liver disease. It has been decently easy for me to transition to the gluten free diet, but managing my UC symptoms has been horrifying and nearly impossible!

    When I was diagnosed, my doctor put me on Apriso (mesalamine), which helped for a little while. When I started getting symptoms again, he put me on Prednisone – the whole process, high dosage weaning to nothing. It made me feel cured! Until I started weaning off it. After a few months, I went back on, only to find my body did not react the same and did not help hardly at all. With the horrible side effects, I was desperate to get off and find another way to help my symptoms. My new (at the time) boyfriend introduced me to a line of health products called Univera as well as a chiropractor specializing in the well being of patients, not just quick fixes. The combination of these two helped significantly – to the point where I got off all drugs completely.

    I have had ups and downs since then and am now at a point where I still battle symptoms and have major anxiety about anything and everything from car rides to class to traveling. My condition has definitely prevented me from securing a normal job and so I battle with money problems.

    What I have found to be the BEST is to try the SCD diet and take a multi-vitamin every day. I have noticed when I stick to the diet, I feel a lot better and have full hopes that my symptoms would clear up if I could just stick with it for a long time.

    I am in your same shoes dear and I hope we can both find the path out!

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