Almost 12 years ago I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after I got back from traveling abroad about a month before my 21st birthday. While I had often had loose stool and more frequent than normal movements throughout my life this was a lot worse than anything I had ever experienced.
After high doses of Asacol and Prednisone failed to achieve remission I was prescribed Cipro and this helped me to achieve remission. I asked the doctor if this meant my problem was related to an overgrowth of bacteria. However he said it probably was not, even though it appears that the anti-biotic was what caused the Colitis to go into remission.
Over the years I have been on and off Prednisone. I sometimes had improvement in my symptoms when I was taking anti-biotics for a sinus infection, however I was told that this was an inflammatory disease so any improvement must be a coincidence. Over the years I suffered from flares on and off but tried to just keep on living my life as best as I could.
I tried many different drugs including Remicade. I tried alternatives like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Gluten-free diet and pro-biotic supplements including VSL #3. However nothing seemed to work for too long. Also the side effects of Prednisone were a problem over time and could lead to long term health side effects.
Finally I was hospitalized for a skin infection which was probably caused in part by a weakened immune system due to Prednisone and Remicade and malnutrition steming from active Colitis. I was placed on Vancomycin and I had an almost immediate improvement in my Colitis symptoms.
This lead me to seek out a Gastroenterologist who was willing to use anti-biotics to treat Ulcerative Colitis. I tried Flagyl and this helped for a little while, I also tried pro-biotic supplments however nothing seemed to help. I was scheduled to have surgery, a complete Ileal Pouch-Anal Anastomosis (IPAA) surgery (full colostomy) with restorative J-pouch surgery.
A month before surgery I found an article in Slate.com about using a Fecal Transplant for intestinal infections that were caused by clostridium Difficile Bacteria. I saw the article however it appears like the fecal transplant would only be useful for Colitis caused by a Clostridium Difficile bacteria outbreak. I felt resigned to go through with surgery even though I wished there was another option that could help. Then two days before surgery I found a study by a group of doctors in Australian lead by Dr. Thomas Barody Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis Fecal Bacteriotherapy. Fecal Bacteriotherapy and Human Probiotic Infusion were other names for the Fecal Transplant procedure.
I was so excited by this discovery and the possibility if it works for me that I have postponed surgery until after I can give this a fair shot of working. Now I am planning on attempting this procedure for Ulcerative Colitis with a doctor. I am encouraged by the study results in Australia and also by some patients who have gotten verifiable results by doing the fecal transplant procedure at home for Ulcerative Colitis.
I will update this blog with any information that I come across in my efforts to find an alternative to surgery and the long term use of drugs with harmful side effects.