I know it’s been awhile since I last posted about my progress with Ulcerative Colitis. Fortunately I have some great news to report.
I did the fecal transplants / infusions every single day for about 5 weeks. At first I started to get a little better but then eventually started to get worse again, although I don’t think it was because of the infusions.
On July 20 I restarted Canasa suppositories (Mesalamine) and Apriso 375 mg x 4 times a day. I also started taking Bupropion immediate release 100 mg, 3 times a day. I started the Bupropion after I found a discussion thread online where they said Bupropion (brand names: Wellbutrin, Zyban) helped Ulcerative Colitis. I also found a study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology claiming that Bupropion helped cased of Crohn’s Disease.
I also started taking Silenor (Doxepin) 3 mg for sleep maintenance. My symptoms started to go away almost immediately! The ultra lose dose of Doxepin, much lower than a theraputic level of this tri-cyclic anti-depressant, probably helped because of its calming, anti-anxiety qualities and also by being an anti-spasmodic. Any anti-chlorlinergic drug is likely to be an anti-spasmodic which will slow down urgency for a bowel movement.
I tapered off of 40 mg Prednisone within two weeks and then started Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) at 4.5 mg at night before going to sleep.
Taking Naltrexone at night led to some sleep problems in spite of Ambien CR and Silenor (Doxepin). Switching the dosage level to the day around lunch time has helped with the sleep problems as well as slightly reducing the dosage level to 3 mg. There is a lot of evidence that a low dose of Naltrexone can help a wide range of disorders that involve a compromised immune system or that have long been considered auto-immune disorders. A study was done at Penn State University where over 2/3rds of patients with Crohn’s Disease went into remission within a month.
I believe that Low Dose Naltrexone could help along with the fecal transplant for Ulcerative Colitis because both could help strengthen the immune system. I also think an anti-spasmodic is helpful to slow down urgency and allow bacteria to recolonize.
Another powerfully contributing factor I think was to take protein shakes every day. In January I was told by the colorectal surgeon that I had low blood Albumin levels in addition to a low red blood cell count. This meant that I had low amounts of available protein for my body to repair itself, so my body could not effectively repair the damage to my colon from the Colitis. I decided to go with Muscle Milk since I could get it in powder form to mix and the name sounded more manly than Ensure. Muscle Milk also had all of the necessary vitamins and essential elements and about double the amount of protein per serving as Ensure.
I ended up being able to taper off of Prednisone from 30 mg by February 14. By March 18 when I was scheduled to have surgery I was doing much better and then found out about the Fecal Transplant and decided to keep trying other options.
I think the Muscle Milk protein shakes also helped because they have high amounts of glutamine which helps the body repair the colon walls. By getting your nutrition in pre-digested form you largely avoid malnutrition.
Another thing to look into is the elemental diet. Jini Patel Thompson and her book Listen to your Gut is an interesting read. Another product to try would be Absorb Plus the all natural Elemental Diet meal replacement shake.
The Natural Digestive Healing blog with Matt Robinson for some great info. Matt has tried many different alternative treatment options including Fecal Transplant, Specific Carbohydate Diet (SCD) and many herbal supplements.
My bottom line conclusions. This is what I did and now I have been in complete remission without any anti-inflammatory or immune suppressant drugs.
Treatment regiment starting July 20, 2011
- Bupropion immediate release form 100 mg 3 times a day
- Silenor (Doxepin) 3 mg at night
- Ambien CR 12.5 mg at night
- Apriso (24 time release Mesalamine capsules) 375 mg 4 capsules each morning
- Mesalamine suppositories in the morning
- Mesalamine enemas at night
On July 20 I started the above treatment regiment and within a day I was already starting to see noticeable results. Noticeable results being less blood in stool, fewer bowel movements and less urgency. I started tapering down from 40 mg of Prednisone, which I was eager to do because I had been having a hard time sleeping and finished the taper within two weeks (around Aug 3)
I then started Low Dose Naltrexone 4.5 mg at night before going to sleep
Then after another two weeks (August 17) I stopped Mesalamine but continued Bupropion and Doxepin. I try to strictly limit dairy and acidic foods, but now that I am better I am able to be healthy with minimal dietary restrictions. I still take Muscle Milk at least once a day.
Within the last two weeks I have also tried Absorb Plus meal replacement shakes mixed with Flax Seed oil George’s Aloe which has factors likely to cause colon irritation removed. I also added Angstrom Iron which is supposed to be better absorbed and less irritating than other forms of iron. The Angstrom Iron has small enough particles that they are immediately absorbed into the body and avoid the digestive track, it has helped me raise my red blood cell count.
Absorb Plus is a good product, and I think would be especially helpful as a way to get off Prednisone and deal with malnutrition during a flare. The person who created Absorb Plus, Jeni Pattel Thompson says that her GI doctor told her that an elemental diet was just as effective or more effective than Prednisone at stopping a flare of Colitis. However I think the part of the Absorb Plus Shakes besides the bowel rest from a liquid diet and the lack of any irritants on the digestive track is amino acid Glutamine.
Glutamine powder can also be bought separately as a supplement. Many body builder’s protein shakes have a much higher amount of Glutamine per serving and are about half the price. However they don’t offer as much of a complete meal replacement. Personally I combine Muscle Milk powder with rice milk once or twice a day and occasionally some flax seed oil and Angstrom Iron.
So all factors considered I feel like I have been given a new lease on life! I hope others read this and can avoid life altering surgery like a Colostomy that may not actually improve their quality of life in the short run or long run. So keep your colon even if all the doctors you have seen say your only option is surgery.