UC and Anemia

Intro:

I’m 32 years old and first saw a GI doctor 7 years ago as I was concerned about blood in my stool. I was diagnosed with IBD at this time. A year ago I decided to see him again as the blood was back along with minor pain and fatigue. I was diagnosed at this time with UC and have had nothing but issues since.

My Ulcerative Colitis Medications:

I had taken Flagyl for inflammation and found this to work. I was taking multiple infusions of Prednisone while in the hospital and found this to help. I switched to 50mg of pills once a day by the time I left the hospital and slowly started to ween off it over the next month. I have also had 3 infusions of Remicade since and think it’s starting to work but only now that I started taking 40mg of Prednisone along with it last week. The Prednisone is definitely not fun as I am not a pleasure to be around but it seems to keep my inflammation in check along with the Remicade.

Now For My Story:

I had a colonoscopy done along with a barium enema and was told the bleeding is from hemmoroids and sorry about your luck you have Ulcerative Colitis and this is for the rest of your life and there is no cure. My GI doctor prescibed Salofalk, a rectal enema. This only made me feel worse after trying it for 2 weeks. I was not given a very good explanation of what this disease was or what else can be done about it so I basically carried on with the fact I had a “bad gut” and just deal with it as I always had. Over the past year the blood was becoming more prominent and fatigue was becoming a major factor. The pain was also becoming a lot more severe in my lower left side. I play soccer and hockey and consider myself a pretty active person who has always been in shape, but this was really starting to affect all aspects of my life. I then gave a Naturopath a chance and after spending hundreds of dollars on different supplements I actually started to feel better. This went on for about six months and slowly stopped working. I was also a smoker and finally decided it was time to quit. What a mistake! After quiting smoking in the beginning of July I started a massive flare up and slowly started to become immobilized. I could not leave the house for any summer events or family time. The pain was too much and was going to the bathroom around 30 times a day. By the time I admitted myself to the hospital in mid-August I had lost over 20 pounds in two weeks and was very frail and pale. I spent over 3 weeks in the hospital and almost had emergency surgery when i arrived as my colon almost ruptured. At this time I was also diagnosed as Anemic. I am home now and am still not at work and am still experiencing pain and fatigue and am on Remicade and Prednisone. I have since changed to a great GI specialist out of St. Pauls Hospital in Vancouver, BC where I live.

My wife and I are now looking at all the different diet options as I am still trying to figure out all my “trigger” foods. The more we browse on-line the more confusing it gets as there are a lot of contradicting stories and foods. I realize everyone is different but some just doesn’t make sense. My major issue right now is getting over the Anemia as this seems to be really putting a damper on my life. I can deal with the pain and constant bowel movements but not having the energy to drive to the store and back is brutal. I need iron and am taking supplements but some of these diets say red meat is bad and some say it is good.

What is a diet that can work for someone who is Anemic and is recovering from a severe case of UC?

Thanks,

Darrin




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7 Responses to UC and Anemia

  1. Adam
    Adam October 27, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    Hey Darrin,
    Super sorry to hear that you are at where you are. your story is giving me flashbacks(an nightmares if you are a big NHL/canadian team fan…)

    First and foremost, big apologies if this site has confused you more about diet stuff. I follow the SCD diet. it has done wonders for me. But that’s not important right now. What’s important is that you keep your head on straight, and don’t get mentally down in the dumps. I can assure you that for everyone who has gotten through their nasty “whale killing’s daily in the toilet bowl” ulcerative colitis and come out happy to be alive, we’ve all dealt with horrible adversity along the way. Its for sure not a disease that the people who are living relatively normal lives had mild cases of it etc…

    Again as for contracdicting stories, that’s unfortunately going to be unavoidable. Probably until the end of time, for every person who has success with something medical related, there will be fifty others who say its all BS etc…
    BUT, speaking for myself, the SCD diet has been great. I eat red meat, brown meat, fish, birds, pigs, cows, yard bird, etc… and seem to be doing pretty good. I’m training for a half marathon right now, if you’re not busy the first weekend in Decemeber, head on down to Vegas and we can talk hockey if you want.

    There are rules to the diet, and again, nothing is set in stone. Just like fingerprints, the backbone of the diet is based on the bacteria in our gut. Which according to many micro biologists, is unique and different for every person on this planet. So again, variations on everything does happen, will happen, and is perfectly fine. Long term outcomes are what really matters.

    I’m starting to realize that I’m probably confusing you more, so the end is near. I’ve written a whole bunch of posts on some specifics, they are all listed here https://www.ihaveuc.com/author/admin/ so feel free to browse.

    Good luck, your story is just too similar to mine, I wish you the best, even if you’re a Canucks fan:)

  2. Vicki Thomas October 28, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    HI Darrin

    Well, I was diagnosed with UC a little over a year ago. And now I’m dealing with severe anemia. In fact today I’m going to the hospital for my third iron infusion in five weeks. I was dealing with severe fatigue and thanks to a colonscopy and some blood work, my GI doctor discovered that I’m severely anemic and dealing with low red blood cell counts as well… The infusions have made a big difference. I suggest you talk to your doctor about this. As for iron supplements – I take Proferrin – this was also recommended by my doctor and is especially easy on the stomach – perfect for us with UC. Regarding food that can help – red meat, whole baby clams (have the highest level of iron), foods high in vitamin C help with absorption as well. There are a lot of people on this site who will suggest the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) – I tried this diet but as an elite athlete, I simply couldn’t get enough carbohydrates to function. I know many people have had great success with SCD – it might be worth looking into – but in my opinion – not until you have your anemia issues sorted out.
    Good luck and keep us posted.

    cheers,
    vicki

  3. Laura Italy October 28, 2010 at 9:25 pm #

    I am recovering from a severe flare, I had blood transfusions and iron IV ..now on Remicade, what is helping me to get back some energy is bee pollen, at least 3 teaspoons a day, more if you can tolerate it. If you find fresh bee pollen it would be ideal, plus my naturapath gave me minerals, dottor Schluss’s, and they are doing wonders. An other thing that is helping me getting back to normal are almonds and sunflower seeds.

    Are you on any iron supplement? The first thing to so I think is that..

    Thanks for sharing,

    Laura

  4. Tiffany October 30, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Darrin,

    I am on the SCD diet as well. I have spent the last few years with a flair up every month or so. I would have to add suppositories and enemas to my daily medical dose and it was awful. I have been on the SCD diet since June 24, 2010. I am doing great, I think might actually remember what a “regular” bowel movement is like. I have been diagnosed since the age of 12, I am now 25. I was a 3 sport varsity athlete in High School and a 3 year varsity athlete in college. It was hard to participate with UC but I never let it stop me. I do wonder how I would have been without. Yet, not much good comes from wondering about what the past will do for me now. I look forward to the day when I am medication free. Check out the diet on http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com You need to stick to the diet to feel the success of it. I have been using the diet and taking GI repair nutrients and other nutrients suggested by a Natriopathic Doctor.

    In high school I was on Prednizone for 3 months at 60mg a month and all the side effects took place and got me onto the medication I am on now. The current medication (Azasan) increases the chance of tumors in the body and in creases my chance for birth defects when I have children. That medication and the need to feel regularity in my movement and in my life have caused me to start the diet.

    I suggest, try the diet, what’s the worse that could happen? I am still taking my meds while on the diet. As I feel confident in my progress I am slowly decreasing my medication amounts. I am doing it slow and when I see signs of UC I adjust the medication again.

    I suggest try the diet for 6-8months, and see how you feel.

    Good luck,
    Tiffany

  5. Dede November 2, 2010 at 8:21 pm #

    Darrin, Dede here from the Boston area and you can guess what hockey team I like! Anyway, your story is so familiar to me–Flagyl, Prednisone (which gave me diabetes). I also quit smoking and had a massive flare! (Smoking constricts blood flow to the intestines, which sometimes can actually be helpful in UC patients but I have Crohn’s). Don’t give up….it takes time to rebuild your gut microflora after taking Flagyl, etc. (I was also on Cipro for a time.) Start taking a probiotic, and iron — what Laura Italy says is good, too. Keeping a food journal will help you feel more grounded, more in control.

    I wonder if your B vitamins are also depleted–I was so depressed and found I had virtually no B12 in my system and went on weekly shots for one year.

    Hang in there. I just wrote to another person on Adam’s site to also check out a few good psychotherapists: mine was so helpful and I still go once a month to talk about the mental anguish we all go through, the loneliness, the grief, etc. And try to laugh, get your mind off the problems and read a book like 3 Cups of Tea (that really helped distract me!) or Mountains Beyond Mountains–books about people doing things that make a difference in the world.

    Vicki suggestion is awesome about the iron supplement–that way you don’t have to pay for supplements out of pocket, if you can get your GI. So glad to hear you are going to a specialist…. def. shop around for a good GI with a good bedside manner. Hang in there.

  6. dr.sashidharan janisein October 25, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    hi…

    it is sad that there is no cure for us. surgery is said to be a cure but i have seen in some patients there is flare up after 10 years but it is well managed with medication. my simple advice to you is:-

    1. maintain a good diet high fiber and low fat
    2. have home cooked meals (cleaner and healthy) eat more chicken liver and red meat without fat
    3. devide your meals into small portions and have regular meals
    4. excersice and start taking your mind off uc
    5. try bael friut (known as stone apple) you can buy them in stores in powder form
    6. have vit c supplement with your medication and also use tabacoo patches.

    try this methods and see if there changes, we have to make your anemia corrected also try taking folic acid or safron (iron supplements). i am sure we all can overcome UC. Please take care and always be happy becouse nothing is greater than our mind so think positive and overcome it.

  7. dr.sashidharan janisein October 25, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    sorry have reduced fiber diet!!!

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