An Update On That Colitis Thing

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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But, first, let’s recap the food (because the thought of colitis and eating is so appetizing).

Dinner

Last night’s dinner was chicken stir fry with red and yellow bell pepper, broccoli, onions, mushrooms, edamame, and brown rice. My diet has been lacking veggies lately, so this was the perfect meal to get some in.

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After dinner, I satisfied my sweet tooth with a bite (ok, like, 4 bites) of cookie dough.

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Breakfast

This morning’s breakfast was a big bowl of pumpkin oatmeal with ground flaxseed meal, dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spice, and a big scoop of Chia Charger nut butter.

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I also drank a glass of iced coffee.

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I attempted to recreate Marylou’s Almond Joy iced coffee at home using coconut milk, chocolate almond milk, and almond extract, but I didn’t get it quite right.

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The coconut flavor doesn’t come through very much, so I’m going to try coconut-flavored coffee or coconut extract in my next attempt.

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Colitis Update

I’ve received a ton of questions about my colitis episode back in June, so I figured I would give you guys an update on CNC. The main reason why I hadn’t talked about it until now is because there hasn’t been much to report”” thankfully!!!

After my doctor diagnosis me with colitis, he prescribed me a ton of different drugs and, eventually, a low dose of steroids (Prednisone). Within just a few days of starting the steroids, my condition drastically improved, and slowly but surely my digestive tract got back to normal. I continued to take the steroids for several weeks as my doctor weaned me off them, and I just got better and better.

My doctor diagnosed me with colitis, which is swelling/inflammation of the large intestine. It can be caused by a variety of illnesses and infections, which is likely what happened to me. (We still don’t know what caused it in the first place.) Ulcerative Colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that affects the the large intestine and the attacks (flares) can occur more often. Right now, I don’t *think* I have Ulcerative Colitis. It doesn’t run in my family, and I haven’t had an more GI issues”” and hopefully, I won’t ever again!

With regard to my diet, I don’t think eliminating gluten, dairy, etc. made much of a difference in my condition. Maybe it helped a little bit, but I think, ultimately, it was the concoction of drugs that I was taking. I just think it took awhile for them to do their job. At the time, the only reason I eliminated those foods is because I was desperate to feel better. I honestly would have eaten cockroaches if they helped me! I’ve eaten plenty of gluten and dairy since my colitis flare, and I haven’t had any GI issues because if them. However, I’ve noticed that my digestive tract gets a little weird if I drink too much iced coffee or beer (the horror!), but I think that’s pretty normal, right?

One crazy side effect of the colitis that I haven’t yet talked about on CNC is the severe iron deficiently and hair loss that I’ve experienced. A couple of months ago, I noticed that I was losing a lot of hair. At first, I just ignored it, but it got worse and worse, so I finally made an appointment with my doctor. She did some blood tests, which showed that my iron levels were really low. This surprised me considering that I take a multivitamin everyday, eat pretty well, and get a decent amount of red meat in my diet. My doctor said the colitis and its trauma to my body likely caused the iron deficiency and hair loss. I’m taking daily iron supplements now, but my doctor told me it could take six months to year for my hair to get back to normal. Thank goodness I have thick hair!

So, there you have it. I think I answered all of your questions, but let me know if I missed any. Let’s just hope that colitis flare is a one-time thing, and I never have to go through that hell again.

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102 Comments

  1. Oh Tina- yes, I hope it was a one time thing. At least now you’ll be prepared for when you lose your hair after child birth. Sorry, that was dumb. I was trying to be positive.
    Everytime I try to recreate coffees at home they never are the same. I DID manage to make a really yummy chocolate peanut butter one the other day. It was impressive! (I did a little post on it.) I think I need one now in fact!
    Glad that colitis is under control and I really hope it doesn’t come back. 🙂
    PS- thanks for sharing the link for the Charger Nut butter! I have to get myself some of that.

  2. It must have been terrible not being able to eat your favorite foods and keep up with your active life. I’m so glad to hear you’re feeling better. This is a great reminder that we should all appreciate our health a little more! I know I take mine for granted sometimes 🙂

  3. Hi Tina,
    just wanted to ‘delurk’ and let you know my experience with prednisone.
    i was on it for 3 months this past summer- and gained an unexpected 33 pounds because of it, mine was high dosage mind you, and it did help to improve my condition quickly though it did leave me with lingering side affects such as the weight gain. Also, i lost a lot of hair as well, i was told this was a side affect of the medication. its excellent to hear though that you are doing much better 🙂
    did you experience any side affects when on it?
    i was extremely depressed, moody, etc- and im usually happy go sunshine!!

    1. I didn’t experience any side effects, but I was on a really low dose and only for a few weeks. There were a couple of nights that I had trouble sleeping, but other than that, I didn’t notice the side effects.

  4. Hey Tina,
    I also have IBD (spastic colitis) and was having a similar problem with hair loss after a bad flare up. My doctor recommended I start taking a really good EFA supplement (with Omega 3,6 & 9) to help with new hair growth. She also suggested I take it with my multi-vitamin to help with absorption. She has me taking a good multivitamin and 2 EFAs twice a day, with meals. So, I’m taking 2 multivitamins and 4 EFA’s daily right now. I am not necessarily noticing more hair growth yet, but it’s only been a few weeks and I think I’m definitely not losing hair as quickly as I was. Just a thought – I don’t think it could hurt you anyways and it might just help. I was willing to try just about anything!! Good luck!

  5. Thanks for the update – I’ve been wondering how you’re doing with that but it seems weirdly personal to ask someone whose blog you read about it, ha!

  6. Glad you’re doing so much better! Is it a condition that you will always have but it just shows up when you have flare ups? Or do you not technically have it anymore since you aren’t showing symptoms?

  7. You are lucky girl! The hair thing sucks but at least you know what is causing it and what to do. If your body can handle gluten, dairy, etc then enjoy it! Glad to hear it was probably a one time thing. Thanks for the update!!
    🙂

  8. Hey Tina,

    Fiber and calcium are going to be super important in dealing with your side effects! Fiber keeps things moving throughout the digestive tract. We are supposed to get 25g a day, which many of us rarely do, but it really helps battle symptoms of colitis. Also, iron is absorbed MUCH better into the body when having it with calcium. Sounds like you have it under control for the most part though, so great…keep trucking!!

  9. Glad to hear you’re feeling better & that the drugs worked. I am definitely NOT in the pro-drug camp, but I think sometimes they can do wonders. Honestly it’s a little refreshing to hear a healthy living blogger talking about them because I feel like so many times the mantra is natural-natural-natural, which can work in some instances, but western medicine is far from evil and much of that stuff does work!

  10. I’m too lazy to go through all the comments, so pardon me if I repeat stuff that’s already been said. I also have a problem with iron deficiency. I’ve been told this: Iron is a bit of a diva. It doesn’t like coffee, black tea, dairy or magnesium (that’s why it’s practically useless if you have it in multivitamin stuff). So when taking your iron supplement, make sure you don’t eat any of this right before or after – my doctor told me at least two hours before or after. She also told me that iron deficiency is fairly common with women because of the blood loss during the period.

    1. @cookie: I didn’t know that!! I usually down my vitamins with a gulp of coffee! Bloody hell! I guess I will move my vitamins to dinner…thank you!

  11. I’m so glad you’ve been feeling good since that icky flare up over the summer. I hope it stays away for good now! 🙂

    Also I feel you on the hair loss thing. Two years ago I lost a lot of hair (but for other reasons) and it totally freaked me out! Thank goodness it grows back. Although mine still isn’t as thick as it once was…

  12. Hi Tina,

    I read your blog everyday and I have to tell you I started having random hairloss about 7 months ago. It has it’s bad days and it’s good days and I’ve been to several doctors because the amount of hair I’ve lost brings me to tears. They told me it was likely due to going off the pill and to up my iron, eat clean, eliminate alcohol and use shampoo products without sulfates. It’s definitely slowed and hopefully it will finally stop soon, it’s unbearably depressing. I know exactly what you’re going through in that department

  13. I found out I had very low iron as well when I had stomach issues. I just assumed my multivitamin was taking care of the issue, but your post makes me wonder. It seems I’ve been losing more hair in the shower and my head is constantly itching. I suspected sulfates in shampoo, but now I’m wondering if it’s iron… Glad you’re feeling better!

  14. I am glad you are feeling better!

    With regard to the iron supplements – I think mine is on the low side too. Sometimes vitamins/supplements make my stomach upset, even if I take with food. Do you feel as though the iron supplements do this to you?

  15. I was recently diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis this past summer and have been through some of the same issues as you. About a month or two ago I started losing hair as well. My doctor said it is probably stress related, as a few months after a stressful event or illness, some people will start to lose hair. I’ve also been struggling with nutrient deficiency and have been trying to get my iron, B12 and zinc levels up. I’m on Prednisone right now and it’s not a pleasant drug, but if it helps then it’s worth it. Nice to hear about someone else’s experience. Thank you.

  16. tina, i have written before about what you eat is very important because i also have it. the dr. told me it is’nt what you eat, but it is what you eat! NO RAW VEGGIES OR FRUIT after you eat them you will suffer with pain and the toilet will welcome you. lol. also nothing with heat as in hot sauce, chilie flakes, hot food of no kind. i have had to figure what triggers the pain. been doing this for 25 yrs. your lower guts will inflame and cause severe discomfort. only antibiotics will help to clear it up. but please, if you don’t want the syptoms write down what works and what don’t. jana

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