From the very beginning, I think everyone who is diagnosed with ulcerative colitis wants to find out how to get rid of the symptoms and get back to a normal life, and FAST. And who wouldn’t? Especially after you have been dealing with the symptoms for probably a long time and seeing your quality of life going downhill. Although I was bleeding pretty badly for months/years prior to being diagnosed, I had no idea what was really going on inside my body, and especially in my colon. The truth is, I didn’t even know what the colon was. To me, the word colon was something that only old people talked about when the words “colon cancer” came up. I never thought that someone my age would ever be dealing with a colon problem, let alone a chronic colon disease…
So, yes, the pictures I saw from my colonoscopy were a major surprise, and it was super strange to see all of the lesions and cuts with bright shiny red blood inside my colon. It almost looked like my colon was having a really bad hangover and full of super bloodshot veins like I remember from my earlier days in college from the image in the mirror after a long night of drinking.
Back to the main question: Why does your colon bleed if you have ulcerative colitis?
I think if we asked ten board certified Gastro Doctors this question, we might find 10 different variations on the answers. So, this is my own opinion as a UC patient, sufferer, battler, and winner with colon still working:
My really simple idea these days on why my colon was bleeding for so long is that it wasn’t happy with what I was doing to it. In specific, it wasn’t liking the food I was putting in my mouth, and it showed its unhappiness by spewing out blood from my anus.
Now for the long opinion:
When I was born, and through many years of my early years, I was not bleeding when going to the bathroom, nor was I in horrible pains.(Although my mom would say I had way more stomach aches than my brother as a child…INTERESTING) But as the years went on, about ten or so years ago, I definitely was using the bathroom more than most people my age, or people in general for that matter. So what was happening inside? Why was the bathroom such a common place for me?
I hope that “autoimmune” is one of the biggest words I ever use, and I don’t know what the definition is for sure, but this is what all the doctors have told me is the backbone of my disease. My guess is, that if you have been diagnosed with UC, someone along the line has told you it is an autoimmune disorder. So, with that understood….??? I will try to get my idea across “auto-immune style”.
With regards to my “Auto Immune disease ‘Ulcerative Colitis'” I think what is happening is my colon is all pissed off at the food I am putting in my body, and instead of writing me a letter telling me what to eat, it is simply sending the massive army of white blood cells out into the jungle called my colon and having those attacker cells fire off their guns all over. Since these maniac white blood cells think someone is invading my colon, and they are doing what they are told, they don’t really care that my colon wall is exactly where they are shooting their guns. And, the bullet holes are small tiny rips in the colon that start bleeding. And guess what, this army of white blood attacker cells isn’t going to put down their guns until they are told to stop shooting. For me, my previous horrible diet was actually the messenger to the attacker cells to keep on shooting, and ripping up the colon. Full on friendly fire, right inside my colon!
That’s my idea on why my colon was bleeding. My life would have been so much different had I just received an email ten years ago from my colon saying, to: Idiot Adam From: your Colon “Hey Adam, would you please stop eating all that bread, dairy, sugar, cookies etc… I’m not sure how much longer I can take the white man firing down here!!”
I am so happy it has stopped, and that my current picture is nothing at all like the one above. It’s not supposed to have all of those blood shot veins and bullet holes everywhere. But, I’m pretty sure it will if I go back to my old diet.
So here are some questions that test the idea above:
1) If your diet was the same for so many years, why did it slowly start bleeding more and more as time went on? And why did symptoms sometimes improve for a little while?
Potential Answer for me at least: I don’t know. Maybe because I moved around quite a bit. Lived in Prague for a year with wife, way different diet, things got better there for example.
2) If diet was same for so long, why did your first Remicade infusion work literally overnight with giving you a semi hard stool, after years without one?
Potential answer: I definitely don’t know, but my colon started bleeding again 10 days after the first infusion, and the second one and third had literally no effect.
I guess I don’t think of myself as having any disease. For me and my family, I happen to be someone who has a body that doesn’t tolerate certain types of foods well, and when I eat those foods, my colon pays the price. And yes, it is somewhat hereditary, and runs in the family. I think its more of an allergy than a disease. But call it what you will, ulcerative colitis sounds much cooler than some other “diseases” out there.
If you have your own definition of “Why does my colon Bleed?”, please feel free to enter it in the comment section below.
I’m passionate about Ulcerative Colitis and especially people living with UC, the author of Feeling Crappy to Feeling Happy and Cooking For Ulcerative Colitis.
Also, I’m the founder of the iHaveUC website and I was diagnosed back in October of 2008 with severe pancolitis (the whole colon was inflamed back then).