I have been doing much better in regards to the symptoms of my UC these past few days. Its been quite a relief, especially after last week. Moving my Remicade infusion up was the best thing my doctor could have done for me. It only takes a few days to a week for me to start feeling the effects of Remicade. All my recent labs even came back almost completely normal! So why is it that I am still having so much trouble with pain and nausea?
The answer finally came this past weekend and it was something that I had never expected, or even read about. Since my colon has suffered such a trauma, my already hard to manage IBD has now turned into a case of IBS as well. Many people who aren’t aware of what Crohn’s or Colitis are easily confuse them with IBS. When in fact, they are very different. Irritable Bowel Syndrome occurs when there is no visible inflammation in the GI tract. IBS involves an increase in pain reception and has a lot to do with the way your brain is communicating with your digestive system. Nerves that are more active during stress cause the intestines to react and squeeze more. Which would explain my horrible abdominal pain without my C Reactive proteins being high (what measures my disease activity). IBS can occur at any age, but my doctor informed my family and I that patients my age develop this problem a lot. Especially after extreme pancolitis cases such as mine.
So, now what? Does this mean that I really will never be able to enjoy caffeiene or alcohol again? Or does my colon and GI tract just need way more time to heal than usual? I know that Bentyl has been a life saver for me in this circumstance, but what else is available to help ease the pain and unpredictableness of IBS?
I’ve been trying to work on anxieties, considering I read that IBS has a lot to do with how your brain reacts to stress. I also read that exercising can be a big help for IBS, which I plan on getting back to the gym full time this week. I haven’t seen much on the internet about UC turning into IBS, but now that I know it’s possible I’m sure there are many people suffering with the same circumstances as mine!
I suppose all I can do is try to get my UC into remission and handle all of the other symptoms as they come. Relieving stress is important to me and I want to be able to start having a normal life again. Unfortunately, I have to wait for my bowel to want the same.