Flares and Remission

IBS & IBD has periods of active disease where you’ll experience flare-ups.  They are extremely upsetting and can wreck havoc on your nerves.  It’s important to remember, they are part of the normal cycle of gut ecology.   It’s believed that for the first couple of years until you get your diet under control, you’ll experience these every 3, 6, 9, 12 months until some of the pathogenic gut bacteria dies off and your treatment plan is established.    Periods like these vary greatly from person to person, but there does seem to be common foods that will trigger flares,  so during these times you’ll want to pay strict attention to your sugar and carb consumption.    I made the mistake of binge eating during my flares only to learn I was making my Remicade treatments less effective and I had to increase the dosage.  Had I known that I just needed to control my sugar and carb intake, I could of possibly avoided bad flares and increases in dosage.

For those who are suffering badly with IBD, the drugs are a godsend, but you also have to help your body heal.   The drugs can easily fail, as they did for me, but at that time I knew little about carb and sugar intake and how it works against the drug treatment plan.  If you are a smoker and suddenly quite, you’ll find yourself in a bad flare.  Please consult your doctor should you plan on quitting.

Remission is when you no longer experience flares and your IBD becomes inactive.  Clinical remission is the absence of rectal bleeding and normal stool frequency.   I have been in remission for 7 yrs., with an occasional flare, but I can easily get it under control again by controlling my food intake.  I stay away from all sugars, except honey and saccharine, and all simple carbs, like junk food during these times.  I use my stools and urgency as indicators if I am overdoing it.  If I start getting gassy with loose stools, I cut out all sugar and carbs for 4-7 days.   Chronic diarrhea will irritate your colon and cause inflammation, so please monitor your eating before you get to his point, otherwise you might have to use steroids to reduce the inflammation.

See the Bristol Stool chart for an example of what I call “remission” stools.


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