The Battle of a Lifetime: Quit Smoking then Diagnosed with Colitis

Hello fellow UC friends, So Nice to be able to express myself to people who will genuinely understand!

I am a 35 year old wife and mother of two beautiful, healthy boys ages 4 and 2.  I was diagnosed 5 years ago with UC. No history in the family.  This is Nicole’s story: 5 years ago I quit smoking and two months after I noticed blood in my stools and changes in the form of the stool.  The doctor prescribed me suppositories.  All good… pregnant and after my son was born I lost alot of weight, couldn’t stop going in and out of the bathroom!  We had NO IDEA what was going on with me.

quit smoking

I am only 5’2 105lbs and was in the 90’s Crazy! After having a colonoscopy, they diagnosed me with UC, moderate…I am now moderate to severe, tried almost all the meds 6-mp, asacol, lialda and tomorrow going in for my 4th Remicade treatment which worked wonderfully the first infusion but then after that it is not as effective. We will see tomorrow. And this is the first time I am going in to the infusion without being on Prednisone….need to see if the Remicade will work on it’s own not to mention that !  It can make me feel like Super woman which is a great feeling with two kids and always having low energy prior. I hear stories about people who are able to be in remission from UC for years…..I just hope and pray that one day that could be me.  I try to be so positive everyday……but it can be so hard when you take your kids to the store and you have an accident and have to leave…..I just need to know how can I get better, stronger, healthier? I want to live a long life…….

62 thoughts on “The Battle of a Lifetime: Quit Smoking then Diagnosed with Colitis”

  1. Nicole,
    I understand your frustration. I’m 33 with two kids, also 4 and 2. I was diagnosed in 2002, and went untreated (for various weird reasons) until 2008. Have you tried natural treatments?

    The place to start would be with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and probiotic treatment. Here are two links to the Diet I mentioned. It has given me my life back.

    Brows around and read the information. I would be happy to help walk you through starting these two treatments if you would like.

    1. Matt,

      Thank you so very much! You are the first person to finally give me a listing of what foods are “legal” and “illegal” The site is wonderful! I know everyone is different but I need some guidance with foods or else I will eat whatever I want……I never needed to be on a diet or watch my weight but now I have to for health reasons so it is difficult to change your habits……
      Are you on medicines too while on the diet? And how long have you been on the diet? And do you eat differently than the rest of the family? Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions……it really MAKES a DIFFERENCE, so thank you!!!

    2. Hi Nicole

      I have had the same experience when i gave up smoking but hospital would not innitally admit a link between both until much later

      I now still smoke 4 a day, and am off all medication, i chose to just smoke a few a day, how i can hold down my job, but have been through all the trials and errors with medication



      1. I had given up smoking completely cold turkey in January 2014 after 25 years of smoking from 2 cigarettes a day to 2 packs a day….regardless smoking is smoking and its not good. It was after a lung infection from a two week business trip to Delhi. The grand champion of polluted world cities and at the time was also very damp and cold (compared to sunny Dubai where I live) so it hit me hard. After realizing that the cigarettes had more intelligence than me while I’m violently coughing to the point of fainting and coughing up things that look like they belong in the ocean, I threw out all of my cigarettes (about 8 packs from Duty Free and the current pack) and vowed to never smoke again and that was over 7 months ago and I haven’t even thought about a cigarette. Problem is that when I was diagnosed (age 43) 2 months ago with Severe UC and was given steroids as a last ditch effort to battle it, over the option of removing my colon….it worked great but during a lot of reading and a lot of “we weren’t going to tell you” from two doctor friends and a few other friends that have colitis, as well as my GI….it was triggered by my quitting smoking. I’ll be honest, I hate that I have this for life but I’d do it all over again …the quitting smoking…..and trade a lifetime of wheezing and aging unnaturally and the potential nightmares that come with smoking for a life of manageable diet change and the odd flare up and even the removal of organs and the higher risk of colon cancer. Smoking is a far more dangerous course.

  2. My mom quit smoking and was diagnosed about 2 months later as well. It’s such a hard thing to understand and get under control. Who knew finding things for her to eat would be so hard? I’m looking for help as well. I’d love to hear more about the probiotic treatment!

  3. I also was diagnosed with UC about 22 months after I quit smoking. Right after the birth of my third and last baby. I have now had it for 21 years. I’ve done Rowasa in the beginning, then Asacol was added, then Colozal was added, Prednisone a few times in between. I am now on Asacol and 6MP and currently going through flare. Flares are frustrating and depressing.

  4. 33yrs – 2 kids (10 & 8)

    Gave up smoking 3 and a half years ago…. started noticing pains, bleeding, etc about 2 months after i stopped smoking! Was diagnosed few months into this year. You’d think doing the good thing of giving up to improve your life would be a good idea, half of me wishes i never gave up!

    Fay x

    1. I have a similar story I quit smoking 5 years ago and within three months I was diagnosed with UC. I was told that I was server, but only had mild to moderate symptoms. I was able to get it under control only when I agian started smoking. I quit smoking again 3 years ago and again I flared and could not get it under control for months until I took up smoking once again. I quit smoking again this past february and I have been so sick I am constantly in the bathroom I have am working with my dr. but I am still having a very severe flare to the point that I do not always even make it to the bathroom. I don’t want to go back to smoking, but I sometimes feel that I have no other options. I am looking for feedback, anything please.

  5. I know totally your frustrations on smoking, I also gave up after around 2 years I was also diagnosed with uc, was non responsive to meds so much so and to cut a very long story short I had the three very painful operations over two and a half years having to have the dreaded bag! I now have had an internal pouch formed from my small bowel and is working ok most of the time, I started smoking whilst going through the ops, still smoking 3 years later, scared to stop again but also scared to get something else. I am 40 year old women.

    1. I have stopped three times in last five years and each time I started to get bloating sensation and then bleeding …. erratic… fast… awful… I lasted 3 months first time… then read about how cigs seem to help it.. so started again. Each time within 3 days I was back to normal health. I so want to stop but cant bare the alternative.

  6. I was diagnosed in 2005 in the midst of my 1st pregnancy. I quit smoking when I became pregnant, so I guess that’s what triggered it. After the birth of my first son, I went into remission and was able to stop taking the asacol & prednisone. (But I also started smoking again). 2 years later, I became pregnant again and stopped smoking…..again. Of course, the uc flared up again but this time we were able to keep it at bay with asacol. After my second son was born, I started smoking again and have been in remission for 2 years…. with no meds. I told myself UC for me was pregnancy related. Recently, I decided to quit smoking all together. I just wanted to be done with it. A couple weeks after kicking the habit, UC flared up and now I’m on meds again.

    In attempt to control things, I’m smoking again until I can find some alternative. I don’t want to be on meds the rest of my life nor continue to be a smoker! I’ve read a lot obout the Specific Carb Diet. Sounds promising. Years ago, I had tried Atkins type diets, and had never felt better. Perhaps this is my answer.

    Good Luck to you all

    1. I did the same thing. Quit smoking when I got pregnant and started having problems. Then 2 yrs later, still having issues but pregnant with twins – so no sigmoid or colonoscopy. Then 2 years later ~ pregnant AGAIN with my 4th and after delivery, getting sicker and sicker. Was diagnosed with UC and put on meds which did NOTHING then enemas which helped somewhat. Still feeling awful. Got fired from a job due to missed time. Finally got divorced and started smoking again and have had ZERO symptoms for over 6 – 8 years. I want to quit smoking, but am terrified of feeling that way again. Debating the patch…….

      1. Hi Amy,
        Many of us have gone back to smoking, it is very much a legitimate decision. You have the right to be well and laying yourself at the mercy of doctors can also take you to a very bad place, it did with me.

        Patches aren’t up to the job.

        I would always flare within 3 weeks of quitting. After a few years of smoking I quit for extra virgin olive oil and had around 15 months UC free. It doesn’t work as well now because I don’t smoke for long periods. I smoke for 3 months, quit then get only 3 months UC free with the EVOO. It’s still worth doing but wasn’t for 3 weeks obviously.

  7. I ALSO after stopped smoking was diagnosed with UC and after the birth of my first son it flared up!
    I NEVER went back to smoking……..been struggling with meds……Remicade seems to help however I always wondered if going back would make the UC go into remission? And after reading, one person said it had for them. However has anyone tried the Nicotine Patch instead of going back to smoking?

    1. I suffered with colitis 2 year ago when I decided to stop smoking. I started again 9 months later and was cured within days. I have a friend who is a doctor and asked him about it he said he had never heard of such a link but would enquire. Anyway by chance a patient of his who is head of the UK colitis society had an appointment with him the following week, so after he had been seen for whatever he went in for the doctor said to him, now I have something to ask you …. what is the link between smoking and colitis to which he replied there are components in tobacco smoke that keep colitis at bay we don’t know what the components are as the NHS will not fund anything into the promotion of tobacco use. So any way to cut a long story short nicorette patches will not help nor will electronic cigarettes I’m on this web site cause I quit again on the 7/10/13 thought I got away with it but flare up began yesterday!

  8. I am 38 years old and have been dealing with a flare up now for the last few months and don’t seem to be able to get it under control. Finally got an appointment with Dr. Hanauer at the University of Chicago yesterday, who is working at the cuttting edge of UC treatment. And besides leaving me on the current medicine I am on for now (60mg Prednisone, 4.8g Lialda) he told me to start smoking again. 3-5 cigarettes per day er enough to get it into remission but not enough to cause major other issues. I am more then willing to go this route and cut a few years at the end then keep going the way it has been for the last few months. According to his patients, he has almost a 100% success rate getting people into remission. Marlboros, here i come.
    And no, he was not able to prescribe them, but cigarettes are still cheaper than some of the treatments I am going through.

    1. UC Man – Sorry to stalk your post’s but I’m hoping you’ll see one of my reply’s. I’m also hoping you can elaborate more on your appt with Dr. Hanauer. Specifically about him recommending you try smoking again. I’ve found published articles of his talking about ex-smokers resuming smoking to calm their symptoms. But I’m wondering if you have to meet other things for him to recommend it (age, specifics of your disease…etc).


      1. Uc Man/

        My doctor also told me to find a happy medium with the smokes, i now smoke 4 a day, and am off all medication, i still have yearly checkups and so far so good, haven’t had a flare up in years
        have ofton taught of giving up again, but would have to give up work, which i cannot afford

        Adrienna Dublin Ireland

    2. I have the same story. I developed UC within a few months of quitting smoking. I suffered through it for 3 and a half years. I was hospitalized, out of work for months and bleeding profusely for most of that time. no medication helped. one day I told my doctor that I had a feeling that if I smoked it would go away (this was many years ago). he said: do whatever the h… You have to do but you have to get this under control. Literally, within weeks, my symptoms subsided. I was a smoker again but I was a tally a le to go out and enjoy my life … Not worrying if there was a bathroom nearby! Some years later, I had a cancer scare ( it was false, thank God!). so, I decided to quit smoking again. within two weeks, I was bleeding again. I am a smoker but do not suffer with UC. I have had to make a trade off. I have had 4 put of four doctors tell me that I can probably never quit without bad results. I have been advised to get down to between 5 and 10 cigarettes a day. I am working on that. I often find myself angry with self righteous people who look down on smokers. they should walk in my shoes for a few months.

      1. Hello Marcia,

        I am also a social leper again but what can you do? I did reach 14 months symptom free (previous record 6 weeks) using real 3 big spoons of high quality extra virgin olive oil morning, lunch and before bed. Works best on an empty stomach or before food.

        It’s been nearly 2 years off cigarettes, I will smoke to heal my colon for 2 months then quit again. I have learned a great deal from this site about diet so am hopeful for even longer remission next time..

        Good luck everyone!

  9. I quit smoking in 1987 and had UC. Suffered terrible bowels for ten yrs, went to 4 gastros, took Rowasa suppositories (oral drug gave me worse probs) until I started back smoking only two cigs a day then up to six. It was a miracle cure! I could live life again. Then, last year at age 54 I had a heart attack so told to quit smoking again. Med staff said almost all smokers have right coronary artery occlusion. Now I’m in constant pain with diverticulitis & pain but this time I was already doing probiotics, fish oil (for years). I also developed the habit from those horrible ten yrs of not eating dairy, eggs, spicy food, dried fruit, caffeine, fatty meat etc. My bowels are not as bad this time as last time I suppose due to the fish oil, probiotics & supplements I take. I go to a Chiropractor who got me on all these supplements – tried to get me off grains altogether but not possible yet. I read a recent medical article that the reason people develop bowel issues when quitting smoking is because the nicotine in cigarettes actually increases the blood flow to the intestines, and researchers thought just the opposite – that nicotine constricted blood vessels. I wish I had never started smoking. Interestingly, my mother quit smoking (she developed throat cancer) and never got bowel problems like me – neither did my father who was a 3-pack a day smoker for 30 yrs. So, somehow, it must be a sensitivity to foods (my parents had all natural foods growing up) combined with the lessened blood flow.

  10. Hi I was diagnosed with acute onset of UL seven years ago and yes had quit smoking 4 months previous. I was 38yrs old and was told I was old for first onset.Over the 4 months had noticed difference in bowel movements and build up of gas but never sought medical advice. I ended up in emergency one night and the doctor luckily diagnosed the Ul quickly and started me on iv steroids which saved me from having to have surgery. After 10 days in hospital and the ul under control I was released on high doses of steroids which left me like superwoman, so much false energy. I researched what might keep me in remission and started back having an odd cigarette which of course has led to me back smoking ten a day. The good news is that I am off all medication and have been in remission ever since. I have made a few attempts to quit since but each time I do within a few days I feel gas building up and know that the Ul will return so start back smoking and everything settles down again. I am aware that I am a high risk from other smoking related diseases but think I will take my chances as I feel that regular bouts of UL greatly increase my risk of colon cancer.People often ask me why do I not use nicotine patches to stay in remission but I feel if I have to put nicotine into my system I might as well do it in a way I enjoy!

  11. Hi, I’m a 36yr old woman, diagnosed with UC 6 months after quitting smoking cold turkey. I’d been ignoring the blood and pain for months but ended up in the foetal position on the floor one day and decided it might be something I should get looked at!
    A specialist with the worst bedside manner, (He told me I’d have part of my colon removed and be using a colostomy bag by my 40’s) prescribed steroids which I didnt want to take, so I saw an naturopath instead.
    I spent 3 months on a liquid natural food diet and have never had a problem since. (5 yrs so far)
    First month I ate boiled, blended vegetables (no roots), second month I started eating blended fruits, nothing too acidic, third month i started not boiling everything too much and introducing more solid/raw food to my body again. The fourth month was scary and delicious when I ate everything I wanted again, without pain, without blood, without fear.
    The natural food diet was boring at first and a few weeks in I thought I’d healed already and was better so I ate a carrot and paid for it BIG time! So after that I just stuck to it and got through it and now I eat anything I like. Everything in moderation.

    1. Hope you pick up this message Louise from your post in 2012!.
      Thanks for sharing your diet and I am very interested in it and thinking of giving it a go after a two month mild flare and wanting to give up smoking (around 5 a day). Had UC off and on for nearly 10 years. Could you kindly tell me when you say “no roots” was this no carrots, parsnips, beetroot etc? On fruits I note nothing too acidic so did this include apples or pears? And on your third month when you say ‘solid’ did this include meat of any kind, raw salads or dairy products? Any more detail would be much appreciated!

  12. Hi all UC smokers/no smokers,
    Smoking for 10 yrs kept my UC away,fortunately I found the link early on. As long as I stay free from smoking related illness this will have been a “result”. From what I know, smoking increases mucus in the bowel, both lining it and making things move quicker. When you stop smoking, do you get bloated/blocked initially? I have experimented over the years with what helped me and what didn’t when I stopped. 4 or 5 per day was my minimum without symptoms until I discovered some new research. I dismissed it at 1st but a terrible cough forced me to try it. 3 table spoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil per day and it gave me 14 months with NO symptoms at all, wow! You can find more details on this under my olive oil post, pretty sure its in alternative medicines. I have had a recent blip but I discovered i’d been taking plain olive oil and not extra virgin when at work! I’m glad to say things are improving now, good old Extra Virgin Olive Oil! Be well! Graham

      1. Hi Robin,

        For some reason it has to be before food, taking it with is definitely not as effective. I have also recently seen research that suggests inflammation is greater in the later hours of the day so the pre lunch and evening dose could be very important.

        Best of luck

  13. Hi all,
    Well this site and it’c content has both surprised me greatly and given me great hope at the same time.
    Some perspective – I am a 46 year old male, who quit smoking 8 weeks ago after about 20 years.
    I can breathe better, and I see that my BP numbers are starting to look good. I expect other metrics in my blood work to also get better now that I’ve quit.
    A week or so I started suffering symptoms and just yesterday my specialist said I’ve got UC.
    Today I’ve been looking around for reasons, and poof – I see and read all of this.
    So I am of course, like probably all of us here, surprised and amazed.

    Now I do not plan on returning to smoking but I was wondering if anyone here has tried Nicotine gum. Like Nicorette. If so, has that helped reduce symptoms? I actually have some 2 MB pieces that I got from a cessation program I’ve did not really use.
    So I have some I can chew. But I want to see if anyone here was in a similar position, chewed the gum and saw reduction or elimination of symptoms. If so, what/how many pieces, please.

    Thanks. Good forum. And I hope better days for all.

    1. Hi Marianne,
      Thanks for replying. Thanks for the info.
      I am going to give it about 10 days with one 2 MG Nicorette gum piece per day and then see how I am doing (combined with the Mesalazine, once or twice per day).
      I monitor my diet, and I can ensure that there are no other variables.

      Fingers crossed.
      If no change, then I’ll see about the patch.

      Thanks again for the info and I’ll post what results I get.

    2. 4th time attempting to quit all 4 times living in pain bloating bleeding mucus loving in the bathroom within 20 minutes of eating shutting having so much pressure feeling like your have to poop all day…. bleeding so much your weak and anemic… went to er twice they blew me off tried to stay I must just have Hemoroids lol for them to literally stick a thing up my but find no hemaroids but still say it must be that…. gi specialist told me I was so young read this book try this diet….. I can literally smoke and days later I’m fine again….. I’ve tried the gum and the patch it still Happens…. this time I removed gluten from my diet 2 months before I quit and here I am 2 months into smoke free during again…. so I guess I’ll go back to my dr. AGAIN

      1. Hi Melissa,

        I’ve been through the exact same thing over 20 years, misdiagnosis, trying this trying that, asking for help before you quit and getting no where. You are in a fortunate position that you can apply the brakes and do have time to find a solution rather than smoke your entire life.

        The most remission I’d previously had was 6 weeks so not worth doing. I then tried something that I didn’t think would work but a bad cough prompted me to quit and give it a go. Starting with a healthy colon by smoking your way there is the ideal preparation for this to work. For how long I can’t say but it will extend the time before you go back to square one. My remission went from 6 weeks to 15 months taking 15ml of extra virgin olive oil. Before breakfast, before lunch and then 3rd at bedtime. I have included my link to this regimen and explaining my trials and tribulations. Only this weekend I heard from a friend of the family that their consultant recommended taking a spoon per day so even they are beginning to understand now. I have now been on 50mg of azaithaprin, not smoked and the EVOO with no problems since December 2019 with no problems. My consultant doesn’t believe this is enough (100mg prescribed) and wants to check how much medication is circulating and a colonoscopy. EVOO doesn’t really work forever on it’s own or reverse flares without meds but starting with a healthy colon you will see for yourself how much further you can get. Don’t rush, get yourself well as that is the most important thing.

  14. Also a UC sufferer and like the others – stopped smoking, got UC, started smoking, in remission and so on and so on. Has anyone tried the electronic cigarette? Just curious.

  15. Hi guys,

    I have been smoking on and off for around 10 years or so. In 2010 i gave up smoking and noticed after abpout 3 weeks thatI was getting horrible cramps that left me doubled over with pain and then the blood started. At first it was a spot of blood on the toilet paper after wiping then grdually my excretion would have clots of dark blood and eventually it developed to the water in the bowl being filled with a dark blood.

    I eventually got round to having a colonosopy and the results came back all clear but i think if my emory serves me right I was back to smoking again before the procedure. I have now quit smoking again for 3 weeks tomorrow and over the weekend and especially this morning I have notice that there was a great deal of mucus when I went to the toilet and a slight bit of dark blood on the toilet paper.

    I really don’t want to start smoking again, but again if my memory serves me right that was what stopped the symtoms in 2010. I was prescribed Lanzoporole in 2010 and that cured the heavy cramps but can’t remember if it did anything for the passing of blood.

  16. Hey all,
    Following up on my original emails from about 5 months back or so.
    Well today is day 169 for me as a non smoker (but who’s counting!). And my UC is back.
    My doc has tried combos of meds that we’ve all mentioned. However the latest one – Prednisone – does seem to be working to calm my UC.
    So that is good, and perhaps bad too since I sure don’t want to be on a steroid long.

    Have thought about going back to smoking but I won’t. Too many negatives. Just hoping that if/when the flare ups arise, that I can take a med like Prednisone and calm it down ’till the next time.
    Also I never used the Nicotine patch and the gum never helped either.

  17. Dave W,
    Have you tried the real Evoo as a maintenance therapy, it also reverses flares for some? If you haven’t seen them there are 2 (most responded) posts at the bottom of this page with lots more information on both smoking and Evoo. Real Evoo has a huge but very much under estimated natural anti-inflammatory, mainly oleocanthal…
    Good luck…

  18. I also went into a flare when I quit smoking in September 2013. I am smoke free for almost 5 months but have been in a flare up for most of that time. About 2-3 weeks after quitting smoking, the flare started. I was diagnosed in 2000 with UC. I have read that L-glutamine can help along with fish oil supplements. But I don’t know how much L-glutamine is needed on a daily basis. I started the SCD diet about 8-10 days ago and I am sticking to it very ridgely. I want to get better naturally. I do not want to start Remicaid. I’m taking Asacol HS and using a Rowasa enema. Still having blood but looks like the frequency and urgency have slowed down a little bit. I hope so. I read an medical article that indicates that the SCD diet helps to put the good bacteria back in the gut and that there have been patients that have showed drastic improvement from the diet. I hope I can get those results. I am trying and will try not to go back to smoking to get the cure. Any suggestions how much L-glutamine I should take and how much fish oil pills I should take daily. Thanks.

  19. I stopped smoking 3 months ago and started with a flare up two weeks following. I’ve had UC for over 20 years but rarely have a flare up. My doctor has admitted stopping smoking is the cause of the flare up but hasn’t really offered any help as mesalazine doesn’t work Prednisone is not recommended permanently and the only thing left is to remove the colon – (absolutely not an option)
    I’ve tried e-cigs for the nicotine to see if that helped but it made it worse. It’s not nicotine that relieves symptoms of UC it’s other alkaloids in the tobacco leaf.
    The only thing so far that has eased the symptoms of blood and mucus to acceptable level is diet…I only eat mainly carbs now. Boiled potato, white bread, eggs and cheese, root vegetables only – strictly no meat/poultry or fibre or spices as they irritate the colon lining. No wholemeal or whole grains, no leafy veg or cereals, fruit has to be peeled. I only eat organic foods. No fruit juices or alcohol.
    This diet has sorted my flare out and I am at present flare free without having to return to smoking although I’m not happy about the diet as I have always been an organic healthy food only eater with plenty of fresh fruit and veg with un processed grains only but a diseased colon can’t handle a healthy diet.
    I have retained a packet of tobacco in case I need to self medicate a flare up. Two cigs in one day will stabalise the symptoms.

  20. Autumn,

    Us UC’ers have been here so many times, it is so cruel that when you quit smoking you are rewarded with the inevitable flare but at least most of us know now.

    I always avoided the diet route as it seemed and turns out it is a minefield. Using either smoking or Evoo worked well but some recent diet “improvements” have actually made things worse. My last cessation was a terrible failure and i’m sure this was down to the 2 raw eggs per day! I looked up sulphites recently and there are many of these around in preservatives, coffee etc but also in “good foods”. I’ve limited these and also take regular Epsom salt baths, explained well here..

    Personally I found E cigarettes a good alternative. Also switched to A2 milk, A1 (most industrial milk) will be very bad for us if what is reported turns out to be proven beyond doubt.

    Anyhow, its a stressful time of year but these changes are working great at the moment, though only a month without cigarettes so early days..

  21. Hey Guys and Especially to Autumn,

    I quit smoking at the end of March 2013 and within three weeks I had a pretty a serious flare up, I lost in and around 1.5 stone in a week. I was hospitalised for two weeks and put on a whole hosts of meds but namely Prednisone and pentasa (mesalazine).

    That was OK, I got released from hospital and had to continue with the Prednisone for 12 weeks dropping 5mg per week. I got to week 10 and I had another more serious flare up and back into hospital where I lost a further two stone. The flare up was so serious that I had to get three infusions (over a period of 6 weeks) of some drug that I can’t remember the name of now but if it wasn’t for that I’d probably have a colostomy bag now.

    On leaving hospital I was prescribed a further 12 week dosage of Prednisone , Pentasa and azathioprine. 15 months on I am still taking Pentasa and the azathioprine but I haven’t had even the slightest hint of another flare up and I can pretty much eat what I want so that may be something to inquire about.


  22. Hi. New here. I am so thankful to have found this site. I also quit smoking 7 mos. ago and 4 mos. after I quit I started having diarrhea (with blood and mucus) that hasn’t stopped yet (3 mos. with it so far). December 2014 I had a colonoscopy done and the results were ulcerative colitis and IBS. The doctor prescribed Asacol and it hasn’t helped at all. I’ve also been on a low fiber diet which also isn’t helping. After reading article after article and story after story that smoking can help with UC I am going to go back to smoking but will try to limit how much I smoke. I am hopeful this will make things normal again as the last 3 mos. have been a nightmare. Thank you all for sharing your experiences.


  23. Its just my own personal experience of UC but I always have and most likely always will readily return to smoking to nip any flare in the bud.

    I once had a flare after not smoking for 14 or so months (drug free) and refused to take it up again. The flare got totally out of control, I had to take Asacol and 2 months later suffered inflammation in my spinal cord. I am convinced this would not have happened if I had stopped the flare myself straight away with cigarettes. I now have permanent, irreparable damage.

    This is probably an unlikely scenario for UC’ers but my view is to try a new or improved regimen each time you quit but don’t be afraid or too ashamed to start again.

    1. Hi I have just found this site and wanted to share my story and hopefully get advice. My brother has uc and my sister has cd. I gave up smoking in June 2015 and in September started having lots of blood and cramps it lasted about 4 weeks the doctor said that people with my family history who give up smoking tend to get some form of ibd with In the first year of giving up smoking. They gave me an umbrella pill for ibd that seems to help but I had another flare up in Feb and that lasted about the same as the first time they sent me for an endoscopy in April which managed to rip all my insides and I couldn’t go to the toilet for a week without crying they had done so much damage they took 4 biopsies and haven’t had my results from the hospital yet my symptoms started again 6 days ago and I have to go to the to pass wind as it always results in blood and mucus. My gp said from what she can see from what the hospital has sent her my results were inconclusive and am fuming about it. I decided to start smoking again yesterday as I now have eyeinitus (not sure if I spelt that right) which people who have ibd tend to get and if isn’t treated immediately can result in loss of sight. All I know is that I have a for of ibd and would appreciate the advice of anyone who wants to give me some. I feel that smoking again is going to help but feel guilty for going nearly a year smoke free but not sure what else to do.

      1. Many who do not find their way here have a choice of smoking with the known risks, drugs with side effects and no guarantee of success or surgery which is not generally straightforward either.

        The trial and error of diets, supplements, probiotics and natural therapies is long and drawn out (as we are all different) but it is worth the hard work I believe.

        Doctors aren’t great with difinitive answers and can’t help you as much as you can help yourself. It is a mistake to rely on them entirely in my view.

      2. I quit smoking also, used the vapor cigs and weaned off, at the same time gained weight,.so was on the Atkins diet. Started seeing bright red blood in my stool, was told it was just a hemorrhoid. When the treatment for that wasn’t working, and wasn’t having anything close to a flare, didn’t even know what that was anyway, went to get a second opinion, went to the ER and without anything but blood work being done was diagnosed with UC and sent home with ciprofloxacin and flagil (sp). Was up all night and all day with bloody diarrhea, couldn’t eat, couldn’t get enough ice chips etc..was told to keep taking the meds cause they will make you sick, mind you I wasn’t sick before this…just a little blood in my stool. I ended up in the emergency room, in the hospital with blood transfusions, two pints of blood. Was put on prednisone. And Lialda. Was doing great, no symptoms, eating whatever I wanted. Thought I was misdiagnosed, went to natural healing doctors, was told I didn’t have UC, weaned off the prednisone and Lialda, wasn’t having flares just a little blood and pain, but wasn’t getting better. Weeks later back in the ER, back in the hospital, two more pints of blood. Back on prednisone and Lialda…and Humira. I am now only on Humira. Weaned off prednisone and Lialda. Started smoking also. Since the last hospital stay, have not had any problems. Started Humira in the hospital. I know it was quitting smoking that caused all of the problems. I wished I knew, I would have never quit. I was trying to do something good for my health!!?? It has been a year now and have not had any problems on Humira and smoking. Not on any diet, eating what I always have. There is a God in Heaven who heals all our disease! I know He will heal me. A prayer of faith will save the sick and the Lord shall raise him up. (James 5:15)

  24. I am a 51 year old male and have smoked since a teenager. My first UC flare up was in July 2012. I had just completed 3 weeks on a drug called Çhampax’ to help me quit smoking. I was happily smoke free and on my journey to a healthier life style. About 5 days after that last cigarette I developed UC. After 4 weeks of suffering, I started smoking again, I also saw my GP and was prescribed Pentassa sups. After 3 days UC vanished. I believed at the time it was the Pentassa that cured me..A colonoscopy later revealed all OK however some minor internal scar tissue.

    Over next 3 years life was perfect however I regularly smoked.. It was during this last flare up in December 2014 (6 weeks of hell), when nothing worked. The attack was relentless and even after Pentassa oral and supps and also prednisone every night, my symptoms remained as severe as ever. I was so bad that I took time off from work, as I was unable to be any further that 10 meters from the bathroom.

    Whilst lying on the couch feeling depressed and wondering why me, I too realised this attack occurred about 7 days after this latest attempt of stopping smoking. I then searched the net and found this forum, confirming my theory…..The next morning I went and bought cigarettes. I smoked 6 that day (one every 3 hours). The same on day 2. On the morning of day 3, my UC symptoms from hell had totally vanished. It is now day 7 and I am still smoking 6 a day and I feel fantastic. I am now also off the meds……

    My plan is to ween myself off the cigs over the next few years dropping one off every 6 months. I am thinking that maybe giving up smoking abruptly maybe too much of a shock to my system seeing as I am prone to UC. (I certainly do not want to give up all of the wonderful foods out there, spending the rest of my life on some bland boring diet.

    So for the time being I will treat these daily cigarettes as a form of medication until I ween off them….

  25. I had my first flare 8 months ago after stopping smoking for about 6 months. I was hospitalized for 4 days and was put on prednisone and Lialda. After I stopped the prednisone the symptoms started creeping back in so I started smoking again and the symptoms went away. Fast forward to about 2 wks ago and I suffered an inner ear condition that gave me bad vertigo so I quit smoking. Today, the UC is trying to raise it’s ugly head again. Nothing like vertigo and diarrhea at the same time! No blood yet but I’m having frequent crampy stools. So…..I just ran to the nearest convenient store and bought a pack of cigs. Hopefully this will put it in check quickly and I can keep the smokes down to 4-5 a day. I went in for a checkup a few days after the ear problem and the doc said he thought the inflammation was either back or not completely gone so he prescribed Uceris. I don’t think diarrhea is one of its side effects but I guess it’s possible. Anyway, I’m sticking to the smokes to see if I can nip this in the bud. I just want my life back! It’s summer and I want to travel!!!

  26. well i was diagnosed with uc at around 11 or 12 years old went through trips to hospital,prednosone treatment back in late 70s early 80s. got better but started smoking around 15 and havent quit. have had a few flare ups not much and i am 50 now. preety much thought i was cured untill i recently heard about smoking helping uc. i guess someday i may quit but i have been able eat and drink whatever i want for so many years it will be tough. thanks for all the info. mark

  27. 57 yrs old quit smoking after 40 yrs 9/06/15 and began bleeding right away. I had a hard time getting Doctors to help me. Yikes! Finally had a colonoscopy and diagnosed with Pan UC that effects my entire colon. So I’m a newbie at this…am not in remission yet…on Lialda, canasa and as of today adding some medication to stop or ease the spasms of my colon. 6 months off smokes which I still dearly miss but I would never be able to smoke 4 a day to stop symptoms. I’m one puff away from a pack a day. Wondering now if I should have quit smoking as this horrible disease is the result. Oh well after battling to stay quit for 6 months I can’t go back to smoking now so will have to learn a lot about how to deal with this disease.

  28. I’m a 59 yr. old female. Quit smoking after 40yrs. In the 1 1/2 yrs. of quitting ,my body experience a lot of painful and annoying symptoms…major joint pain,bloating,headaches,tiredness,depression. I was clueless and assumed it was my IBS, newly diagnosed fibromyalgia, or lack of vitamins. I tuned out my pain. Mistake no. 1. That is…until I ended up in the emergency room and had a 9 day hospital stay with blood,pain confusion,helplessness and food drips. Then my world changed when I learned it is UC! Changed even more when I learned that quitting smoking on sets UC. I was not prepared for this! I am over a month in recovery now. I have done much medical research and btw Adam, your UC site rocks with important information! I have chosen not to be on UC medicine for life. My body is so sensitive to medicinal side effects. I realize I abused cigarettes and thus accept the fact that my bodies immune system is nicotine based. I trust myself to not abuse cigarettes as I choose to smoke ‘5 medicinal ‘cigarettes a day to keep UC away. I am an active person and I feel so free from pain. The last 1 1/2 yrs. of pain kept me from being alive. Now I have myself back and will be grateful for every little thing.

  29. Over Xmas and New Year 2014/2015 I was very poorly with the flu (that was the time the flu jab didn’t work). During this period of about 3 weeks I didn’t have a cigarette then I started with cramps, diarrhea and passing blood. By the time I got to the hospital for an endoscopy things had settled down and I had started smoking again. The camera revealed damage that was caused by Ulcerative Colitis.
    I am a 71 year male that has smoked for 55 years and on 6th January 2016 decided to give up smoking. Three weeks later I started with the cramps, diarrhea and blood again. My GP tried various things until after 4 weeks of agony I was admitted to hospital, put on IV drips of antibiotics and steroids and after thinking about both circumstances I am convinced that giving up smoking caused my UC. After 3 weeks in hospital I am now back home and smoking again the UC is being controlled with steroids etc unfortunately I contacted MRSA virus in hospital but I am being treated for that at home. So glad I found this website.

    1. Update April 2021.
      Five years on, still smoking have not had one flare up.
      During the five years I have started the day with a probiotic drink (Actimel) and I now roll my own cigarette using a ultra slim tip which restricts the amount of tobacco.

  30. Hi there..I am 57 year old male living in sweden ( l am scottish ) and decided after 40 years of smoking to give up and give the e- ciggies a bash.That was the 8th of November 2014..During 2015 I always felt bloated and never hungry but still ate food as nomal then in October went to the toilet as nomal and waited for needs to be done, which at this time seemed to be harder to produce anything worth shouting about, always seemed like if I ate the whole day I would never get the same amount in my toilet visits…I mean you would think wow I ate a lot today so I should shit a lot tomorrow, never happened, it alwats felt like i had 3 stones of shit inside me that would not come….anyway back to October last year, went to toilet and pushed to hard and the explosion made me look in the toilet pan…it was not a pretty site with blood splattered everywhere..not good i though so went to my GP whi took blood tests , weight etc and then thought it best to see a specialist.The GI doctor called me in November when I was in a pre booked holiday, which was not enjoyable as at this time it was look out for the nearest toilet before going anywhere as max i could go for an hour without expoding into the toilet.At this tine i had no idea what it was so as you do on holiday drank a few beers and a few whiskys everyday ( in retrospect this was nit good for my toilet explosions).Met the doctor for a coloscopy 29 Nov which did not work as my colin was badly inflamed.Got predisoline 40 grams for 3 days and asacol 3200 4×800.
    Goid after 4 days then started weening of the predisoline until Jan 2016 a coloscopy again, looked pretty good he said and he was pretty sure it was UC i had, just a little infamation by now finished with predosoline and only on asacol x3200 daily.Went ok for 6 weeks then the blood came back .In january i had a stool test for something i cannot remember so the Dr called me to say that he is not 100% sure its UC so i asked what have i then…He went on holiday in february and i have not heard from him since.
    So 4 weeks ago i decided to have one cigg in the morning and one at night ( this was advised on a swedish UC site by a revered doctor in the UC field to another patient who was suffering badly ) and guess what has happened, no more feeling terrible or bloody toilet visits..early days but we will see…tonight i will try the EVOO as well to see how that gows…

  31. Hi Robert, I’m a 59 yr. old female living in Sweden. Quit smoking after 40 yrs. and boom! Nine day hospital stay with severe UC. Never had it before. Decided to smoke five cigs a day instead of taking Asacol…med side effects. So far after three months, I have no UC symptoms.

    1. I quit smoking 3 months ago after nearly 50 year habit. I have had every side effect there is to have I think as well as the bowel one. I had the pains and the wind and the constant diarrhoea also and then the bleeding. I decided to take some Metamucil (fibre drink) at the thoughts it may bulk the motion up so the diarrhoea wouldn’t be so bad. Guess what it worked and the bleeding stopped the next day. The wind isn’t as bad either and three weeks down the track no more problems but still need the Metamucil or diarrhoea returns. I feel so lucky after reading these posts. Hope this helps someone else. I’m hoping after a few months I won’t need the additional fibre.

  32. Hej Jackie,
    Thats my next move to stop the asacol, after one month free of UC symptoms.
    For the last three weeks its been one cigg in the morning after breakfast ( like I always did for 40 years ) and one or two in the evening before I go to bed.

    So sometimes next week I will stop taking asacol but I am wondering if its better to do the same as predosoline ie come off them gradually.

    Now I take x2 ( x800mg ) breakfast and evening meal and I thought maybe take one each time for a few weeks and then see how it goes and then one a day the last few weeks?
    Any tips on how you came off asacol?

  33. Robert,
    I do not know about getting off of Asacol as I chose to not go on it.i just jumped to medicinal cigs. I heard that once you are on Asacol you have to be careful how to slowly go off it.
    Visited the gastro dr. Yesterday for a follow up. Recent stool sample said there is intestinal inflammation but I don’t feel it and dr. said colon feels fine. I changed my diet, no sugary desserts and I don’t drink alcohol. So I believe the UC lays dormant because of cigs and I personally do not want to mess with a sleeping dragon. My stress goes right to my stomach, managing that to but I think that is typical of people our age, waking up to stress levels

  34. I want to suggest something that as far as I know has not been suggested. My years of UC and related problems looks almost certain to have been caused by parasites. They mostly reside and cause discomfort in the small intestine, I always had fairly central discomfort and bloating. They are more common than we think and almost impossible to detect even when suspected. They shift the gut population and the immune system.

    There is lots of evidence that Nicotine controls colony sizes in birds, bees and humans though does not eliminate them. I likely got infected during or just prior to smoking while on holiday in North Africa. I believe the colony grew significantly when I quit (and got UC) years ago. I always had to revert to smoking to heal my UC.

    Worms cause a restriction in the small intestine which causes bloating and are proven to cause inflammation in distal areas. A type 2 immune response, cleaving mucus leaving less for the end of your colon and also secreting toxins.

    EVOO has been proven to damage leeches and olive leaf extract is a home remedy for parasites. This could explain why I particularly have benefited from EVOO when others haven’t.

    I had the drugs and bled like crazy but then settled and now 4 months smoke free. I suspect I still have a small colony as the first round does not always clear large infestations. I had a little bloating last week and read more about nicotine and parasites. A parasite solution in the field is to eat a cigarette, yuck! I also found an Indian doctor who recommends this. Knowing where the problem was likely to be and not wanting to smoke gave me an idea. I bought some hand rolling tobacco (less chemicals) and squashed some in to two emptied probiotic capsules and swallowed on an empty stomach. A little discomfort after 30 minutes but no dramas. I did this for a few days and everything is good.

    Nicotine is toxic, there is around 20mg in a cigarette and a 1000 will be deadly but a capsule or two appears completely safe and you may not have to smoke or eat cigarettes.

    Given the side effects of drugs this may not be such a terrible idea. You try this at your own risk obviously but another strategy perhaps and if it helps maybe you should investigate the signs of having parasites.

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