22-year old American living in Canada. Currently in school studying to enter the health care field. Skeptical by nature, I always look for the science behind everything I try. Only recently diagnosed with UC a few months, I’m still trying to figure out what works for me! My colonoscopy in May 2013 showed ulcers and inflammation in the rectum and sigmoid colon, with the rest of the colon clean. I’m most interested in trying complementary medicine that has been studied for efficacy.
Some more about me:
Food has always been a huge part of my life. I’ve been a vegetarian for five years (up until a few months ago), have worked on organic farms and community gardens for a handful of summers, have volunteered at food banks, and have always enjoyed cooking nutritious, whole foods. Not being able to eat fiber is driving me insane! I feel like such an important part of my life has been taken away from me.
I’m currently in the middle of a flare up, though this one is less severe than the one leading up to my diagnosis. I’m having 4-5 loose bm’s per day, with some blood and some mucus. I also have some pain in my abdomen, and occasionally feel bloated and inflamed in that area. I also have some joint pain at various joints, but that very well could be unrelated.
Too Many Supplements
So, my first question, am I going overboard with supplements? Before I break out into the list of what I’m taking, let me preface with my situation. As an American living in Canada, I don’t currently have health insurance that covers me when I’m in Canada. So at this point, to see a doctor, I either have to travel back to the US, or pay out of pocket for a doctor in Canada. Luckily, if the situation gets too bad and is considered an emergency, I can see a doctor wherever I am and it will be covered. That’s how I had the colonoscopy and my initial couple of gastroenterologist appointments. So right now, I’m on Apriso (4 pills per day), and am just finishing up my second course of hydrocortisone enemas. After the first course of enemas, I thought I was put into remission, since I wasn’t having any symptoms. But after a blood test showing my inflammation markers were still up, the symptoms came back a week or two later. So now I’m back on the course of hydrocortisone enemas, but it seems like the symptoms aren’t going away. The doctor said that if this doesn’t work, I’ll have to go on prednisone or immune-suppressents. He said going on those medications means I’d need regular doctor’s visits and blood tests. So not only am I scared shitless about going on either of those medications, but I can’t afford all the doctor’s visits that I’d need. Hence my frantic search for CAM alternatives.
So, here’s what I’m currently taking for supplements. I’ve tried to limit it to ones that have been studied at least to some degree and proven effective, or at least that shows promise in clinical trials. Here goes: probiotics, fish oil, krill oil, digestive enzymes, spirulina powder, l-glutamine, boswelia, aloe vera juice, selenium, flax seed oil, curcumin, bromelain, aloe and vitamin E enemas, and a gelcap multivitamin (plus cranberry extract for recurrent UTIs). Does anyone have any feedback for taking this many supplements together? Does anyone see any possible interactions between them, or any other reason I shouldn’t be taking this combination?
I’ve also been trying to avoid nightshades, crucifers, legumes, whole grains, gluten, lactose, and anything with lots of insoluble fiber. I’m toying with the idea of trying the SCD, or some diet plan of my own that is even more strict than the SCD that avoids all of the above, plus any foods that are inflammatory. However, some of the supplements I am taking are illegal on the SCD, so I’m trying to weigh the benefits of the supplements (like aloe and spirulina) against the benefits of the SCD. Any input from people who ran into this problem would be greatly appreciated!
written by Sarah S
submitted in the colitis venting area