1. When were you diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease? What kind of IBD do you live with?
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in March 2013 at age 25.
2. What are some conventional methods you've used or tried to treat your IBD?
As soon as I was diagnosed, I took oral meds (mesalamine) and steroids but flared again after a year. I then switched to other oral meds before flaring again and trying a biologic infusion and immunosuppressant. After still not achieving long-term remission, I started a different biologic and here we are! Fingers crossed this one works for many years!
3. How did those conventional methods work for you? Pros? Cons?
It’s been a roller coaster in finding the right medication that keeps me in remission. I would say there were not too many pros since none have worked that well for me. The con of one of my current medications is that it makes me incredibly tired. The other con is making time every 8 weeks to sit for 2.5 hours with a needle in my arm. Hopefully the pro of this new biologic will be that it keeps me in remission for as long as possible.
In addition to conventional medications from my doctor, I have also sought guidance from a holistic medical professional. I have had many tests to determine the best route for my body (gut bacterial tests, food sensitivity, hormones, etc.), and I have tried supplements along with lifestyle and dietary changes. Diet has helped my ulcerative colitis symptoms in times of desperation as well as provided overall improvement in non-IBD related aspects.
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5. How did those natural methods work for you? Pros? Cons?
There were a lot of pros to helping my body function the best it can–given my circumstances. I have more energy and feel like all the gears are turning the right way when I eat cleaner, get plenty of sleep, drink lots of water, manage stress, and take vitamins. The main con is that results are not instant. So, sometimes you have to put a lot of work, money, and effort into something that doesn’t give you results in only one week.
6. In your personal opinion, is remission possible with IBD? If yes, why? If no, why not?
Yes, yes, yes! It’s what every IBDer strives for, and I hope we all achieve comfortably. With the right team of doctors, listening and adapting to your body’s needs, and an individualized treatment plan–remission is possible.
7. Are there any misconceptions about chronic illness and natural healing methods you'd like to clear up?
I laughed when I read this because…yes!! The biggest misconception with IBD is that it is the same as IBS. It is very different. Another misconception about chronic illness is that it can be “cured” by one single pill, drink, or medication. A lot of the times that’s not the case. As for natural healing – heck yes, there are misconceptions. A lot of IBDers will groan with an eyeroll when someone suggests a certain drink, herb, or oil. That includes me. There are lots of people out there claiming this magic drink or supplement can cure their illness. That’s why it’s important to tread lightly and be a skeptic about everything. How do you know what worked for someone else will work for you? Check the source, ask your doctor, and actively educate yourself about your body.