Medication or Food? Newly Diagnosed UC’er Needs Advice


I am a 38-year-old busy full time working mom with two toddlers. I was recently diagnosed with UC (about 3 months ago) and learning how to deal with it.

A little bit more about me:

I live in California. I like running, working out when I can find the time. I have had sevearl carrers that have brought me close to some of the world’s greatest celebrities. I have a husband who doesn’t understand UC and thinks it is all in my head.

Colitis Symptoms I’m Experiencing:

Urgency, bloody mucous stool. :)

My Colitis Story:

I was recently diagnosed with UC. I was not very happy about it at first, but once I started taking Asacol the symptoms went away and for the first time in ten months, I had a regular bowel movement. So then I thought, naively, what is all the fuss about, this isn’t so bad. Obviously, it doesn’t go away. While I have only been on Asacol a few months, it has stopped working. I also use the lovely enemas when I had a flare up. My questions to those who have been dealing with this disease are this:

How much of treating this disease is medication and how much is food? My GI doc says it has nothing to do with food. My PCP says that the GI doc’s response is the same as most, because the GI’s haven’t seen substantial scientific evidence that controlling diet can help control the disease.

What am I to do?

My problem is that I recently had a baby and need to still get rid of baby weight. The diet restrictions to help treat the disease seems to basically eliminate fiber, but fiber in the form of fruits and vegetables are what any weight loss regime. So, in order to get rid of the baby weight, I have not been following an Ulcerative Colitis diet, but my flare ups have been many and not going away so I am beginning to think that diet has a lot to do with controlling UC.

Not to mention that I do have a couple of glasses of wine at the end of the day. I am sure that doesn’t help.

Any advice is greatly appreciated, I am beginning to find myself getting into a depressed state thinking that medicine doesn’t work, but a diet to control symptoms and to help lose weight is impossible too.

written by Busy UC Mom

submitted in the colitis venting area

13 thoughts on “Medication or Food? Newly Diagnosed UC’er Needs Advice”

  1. Busy UC Mom,

    I’m so sorry to hear about your diagnosis! However, you are fortunate to have found this website. People here are very supportive and informed. You are doing the right thing by asking questions about diet. Next time your doctor says that there is no evidence that diet can help control the disease, ask him to show you the studies. What you will find is that no studies have been done, since there is noone to fund them. So when they say there is no evidence, what they really mean is that they haven’t looked. I think pretty much anybody with UC who has attempted a diet of any kind has seen improvement. It is pretty much clear that at minimum, removing gluten helps a lot. In fact, the most successful diets are those that avoid sugars. Look up the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet, or the Paleo Diet (I strongly prefer SCD). Get a good probiotic. These diets explain precisely why gluten, grain, starches, and sugars are bad for you and are contributing the inflammation in your colon. Unfortunately, medication that you are given for UC works at best, much like a pain killer — they hide the symptoms, but do nothing about the underlying cause — and at worst don’t do anything at all (actually, one of the possible side effects of asacol is… wait for it… worsening of UC symptoms). Best of luck to you. People who have attempted to approach their health through natural means have seen a lot more success than those who have stuck to conventional meds.

  2. Hi busy uc mum,
    I am still sitting on the fence regards the food theory, sorry guys we all differ in our opinions, I have had uc for 10 years and only ever had 2 flair ups, one of which i am still experiencing 5 months on which is pretty crap.
    Anyway i have always eaten and drank whatver i wanted whenever i wanted. My first flair apart from the onset and diagnosis was 6 years ago, and it was folllowing colonic irrigation, it quickly settled in 2 weeks with steroids, i continued toeat freely and drink. This current flair started in August and i am still going through it but have started infliximab which helps a lot.
    Whilst some may find it’s food i believe mine is stress related, i think some foods may irritate the colon whilst in flair, i take a good probiotic too. We are all different i suppose, good luck honey

  3. Hi Busy Mom!

    I echo everything KK said above…
    My GI also told me very adamantly “diet has NOTHING to do with it”
    Well… I disagree. I also see a holistic doctor, who sees the body as a whole, as opposed to only looking at one part (the colon) and taking down the inflammation of your body helps SO much when dealing with UC. I personally am on the Anti-Inflammatory diet. It’s pretty similar to the paleo diet. I am not taking any pharmaceutical drugs. Everything I do is diet and vitamins/supplements… I’m taking lots of probiotics, fish oil, turmeric, glutamine… the list goes on…
    By the way, since you mentioned you have some baby weight you want to lose, if you switch to the anti-inflammatory diet (and a big part of that is cutting out gluten), you will lose weight.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband… hopefully he will come around. It took my hubby a little while, I’ll admit… he has been much more sympathetic and involved since he read “Feeling Crappy to Feeling Happy.”

    As far as the wine, my Doc says that organic red wines with no sulfites added are OK for people with UC.

    Hang in there, we’ve all been there… it will get better.


  4. hey! i think food affects some people but it isn’t everything. i have been following paleo/SCD for over three months but was just in the hospital needing a few blood transfusions. diet helps a little in my case, but it obviously hasn’t helped my pain, urgency, or major blood loss.

    you kind of have to find a plan that works for you and that means lots of experimenting. i feel sad for you that your husband doesn’t understand it. i have people in my life that are the same and it’s just easiest to not talk to them much. obviously, since he’s your husband, you can’t do that, but he needs to learn about your disease. i would have him read the book “coliscope.” it is a funny but true book about a man with UC and he doesn’t sugar coat anything. i had my mom read it which helped her understand the disease a little better.

  5. Hi,
    It appears everyone is different so a bit of experimentation and trial and error might be worth a crack.
    For me personally I experience some relief by not eating animals at all and absolutely avoiding gluten (anything with wheat). A nice bottle of wine or 2 seems to help with a flare.
    Well that me; good luck with it auntie,

  6. Hi!

    I know the baby weight thing!!! But cutting gluten and all caffeine including chocolate has helped a lot and apart from being on steroids I’ve consistently lost weight since my symptoms began. I’m only slightly over where I’d like to be but my health has taken the front seat- I feel I can concentrate on being slim when I’m not bleeding and exhausted lol. I hope your husband can be more supportive it makes a huge difference xxx

  7. Hi. Sorry you have this sucky UC. Yep, I said it…it sucks! But there is always hope. My son was diagnosed 3 yrs ago with UC and all his GI docs…(yes all since we’re military we get a new one every time we move), say diet has nothing to do with flares. In our experience I say, yes and no. How can diet have nothing to do with eating popcorn, or grainy foods which so obviously cause turmoil to the colon. But then again, the SCD diet really didn’t stop flares. Use your common sense. Try meds, diets, probiotics…whatever works…super. Whatever keeps this ugly monster at bay is worth a try right? God bless and good luck :)

  8. Hi, BusyUCMom. Lots of good advice here. There’s an old saying, “You are what you eat” and our cases, it’s so true. There are so many healing diets out there and some day the scd diet doesn’t work for them. There is also “the eat right for your blood type diets” which may explain why scd doesn’t work for some because it’s based majorly on paleo and original man was type O so this diet works best for type O There are lots of creative things you can do in the kitchen with these foods, for instance I made a pumpkin pudding with almond milk and a streusel topping with almond flour instead of wheat flour. It was delicious. Fiber is very important in our diets but it’s good to watch out for raw foods in a flare as well as alchohol and caffeine. Supplements are key, too. What Polly said is right on, I take all those and then some. These types of diets help you lose weight, too, so you kill 2 birds with one stone. Good luck Bucm!

  9. Hi,

    I am sorry about your husband thinking that this is ‘all in your head’. We all know, that’s ain’t true! Hopefully, he’ll come around. It took some time for my husband to accept the fact that I wasn’ quite ‘myself’ any more. He finally did though. I put myself in his shoes, so to speak, and I sort of understood his angle, however wrong it was!

    I agree with Peternz…in that you may benefit from drugs, diet, and/or natural remedies. I cannot tolerate the meds for UC, so, by trial and error, I have found ‘MY’ solution. Probiotics and L-glutamine. The meds do help some, and hopefully they continue to. Alot of times, they only work for a littlw hile, or for the first time, and then another med has to be tried.

    Cheers…oh, and you came to the right place! Welcome! This website has saved alot of us!!


  10. Thank you so much for the replies. These are so helpful. Polly – I have Glutomine so I will begin taking it again. How much do you take a day? I will download the SCD diet but is Adam’s SCD diet – gluten free or should I be looking for something else?

    1. SCD is much more than gluten free — it is grain free, sugar free, (mostly) dairy free, starch free and more. It only allows _specific carbohydrates_ – monosaccharides. I know it seems daunting, but read the book Breaking the Vicious Cycle. It explains precisely why this is necessary.

    2. Hi BusyUC Mom!

      I take a heaping Tablespoon of Glutamine everyday… I mix it with about a 1/2 glass of coconut water. :)
      I personally don’t know a lot about the SCD diet. The anti-inflammatory diet I follow is gluten free, sugar free, (no sweeteners, almost no fructose) corn free, soy free, legume free, peanut free… I am allowed dairy, but only if it is organic (I pretty much eat everything organic now). I think there is some overlap with the SCD diet, the GAPS diet, the blood-type diet…
      It works differently for each person, so it’s trial-and-error until you find the best fit for you. My holistic Doc is a firm believer in the anti-inflammatory diet, so that’s the course I chose. He has lots of patients on the same diet as me.

      In my earlier post, I forgot to mention Vitamin D. Vitamin D is another great supplement to take!!!

      Hugs from Minnesota!

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