I have had UC for over 20 years.
I was initially diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 1990 at the age of 32. I initially went to my family doctor about the problem I was having. He attempted a sigmoidoscopy which was extremely painful. He ended up referring me to a Gastroenterologist. The Gastro also did a sigmoidoscopy confirming that I had a digestive system issue. He scheduled a colonoscopy. This procedure confirmed my diagnosis as Left Side Ulcerative Colitis. This means that the UC was mostly confined to the descending colon. I guess if I have to have UC, this is probably the best place to have it. I was put on Sulfasalazine at that time and have been taking it every day since for over 21 years now. I was also prescribed with Rowasa enemas which I understand is basically the same as Sulfasalazine tablets only applied through the rectum. I did the enema thing every night for four weeks and my flare went away. I want everyone to know that you should not ev er let your Family doctor attempt any procedure through your rectum. There is no way that they have the experience or equipment to keep your pain to an absolute minimum. The Gastroenterologist should be the one doing any procedure. I have had annual Gastro appointments every year since and a colonoscopy every two to three years as deemed necessary by the Gastro. I turned 50 a few years ago and now have an annual Colonoscopy. The odds of getting colon cancer go up for older people as well as long term UC’ers. The odds also go up for UC’ers who experience many flares.
I am currently on my second Gastroenterologist as my first one retired. Still the same group though. I had a wild experience a few years back. I mentioned to my Gastro that I was occasionally getting meat stuck in my throat and almost choking. He scheduled an Endoscopy along with my usual Colonoscopy. I had both ends probed at the same time. He diagnosed a stomach ulcer and prescribed Omeprazole. I have been taking it for a few years now. I can now eat foods that used to cause me sour stomach problems like green peppers.
I have had quite a few flares over the years but only a few that I would consider to be major. Most of the moderate or minor flares eventually go away on their own. The major ones usually require the Rowasa enemas. I hate doing the enemas but they do clear up the problem for me. You do the enema at bedtime and try to hold it in all night if possible. I have had many long term stretches without flaring, sometimes even a year or two. I have never attempted to alter my diet until I ran into the SCD thing on the net. I am currently undergoing a major flare and have yet to contact the doctor about it. I wanted to give the SCD a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for me. So far I have noticed that I am getting small chunk poops but only after I get the initial diarrhea/blood/mucus out first. The small chunks cause me some pain when passing apparently because they are passing through a raw segment of my colon/rectum. The diet is a good thing regardless of flare results as it does get me to eat much better food than previously. The only food I really miss is beer.
The colonoscopy procedure is almost pain free. The problem for me is the prep the day before. The cleanout drugs and sitting on the toilet almost the entire night. I get put under during the procedure with drugs. I usually start coming out of the funk towards the end of the colonoscopy and have seen the inside of my rectum/colon onscreen as they are wrapping up the procedure. I have even seen them taking biopsies from me realtime. That is wild as I feel a small pinch when the sample is taken. That is about the extent of the pain. I get treated to pictures of the inside of my colon and also my appendix after the procedure is done. I think they show the appendix to let you know just how far they go inside you with the scope. I treat most of my good friends and family with a view of the pictures. Always a good laugh.
Take care and best of luck for all the UC’ers out there. Rich
Submitted in the Colitis Venting Area
The only medication I have ever been on for my UC is Sulfasalazine. Two 500 MG tablets three times a day for a total of six. I have used the Rowasa enemas a couple of times for bad flares. Usually every night at bedtime for four weeks. I also take a Folic Acid supplement to try and avoid Anemia. I also take one Omeprazole tablet a day for a stomach issue.