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How to cure your Colitis

I tried a huge number of different things while attempting to cure my colitis. I would have tried anything to avoid the standard medical outcome of powerful drugs with powerful side effects, repeated, irreversible surgeries and colostomy bags. Almost none of the things that I tried worked. These are the things that eventually did.

Step 1. Buy this Book: Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall

Step 2. Follow the diet, outlined in the book

The basic premise of the diet is that Colitis is caused by an overgrowth of 'bad' bacteria in the colon - which cause irritation, inflammation and eventually ulceration & diarrhoea. These bacteria feed off carbohydrates which are floating around in your colon. The aim of the diet is to starve these bacteria out by only eating simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides) which will get broken down and absorbed by your gut further up - before they get down to the colon.

This isn't easy. Bacteria are microscopically small and don't eat very much - starving them out is hard work and takes a lot of dedication & patience. You have to follow the diet very strictly for it to work. A tiny little bit of cornflower or sugar in something might not be a big deal to you, but it's a bonanza for a bacterium.

It takes a while to get used to the diet and for it to become 'normal', although it eventually will. It cured my colitis, so I think that's reason enough to stick with it.

I was on and off the diet, through cheating, for quite a while when I first started. This will make it hard to stick to the diet because it means it'll take longer to help and longer for you to see positive results; each time you cheat you go back almost to square one. That said, I found that as I progressed with the diet and occasionally lapsed (through accident, through negligence or through my own deliberate fault) it became obvious to me how much worse I was when I cheated - and how much better I got when I didn't. This acted as an example and a reminder of how things could be - and made me commit to the diet more strongly.

You need to believe in the diet for it to work; not because of any placebo or psychosomatic effect but because you won't follow it correctly if you don't believe in it. This has been my experience, at least. It is hard to give up all the things you used to love so much: pasta, pizza, bread, cakes, chocolate, alcohol, sweets, ice cream, coke, takeaways (of any kind), sausage and mash etc…

You need to forget about these things, get used to a life without them, for now, otherwise this won't work and you're going to be stuck with your colitis for ever (go ask your doctor). Once you've been symptom free for a year you can slowly and carefully re-introduce some of those wonderfully toxic foods, if you like. I find it helps to keep telling yourself this. In the meantime - while you're on the diet - just put them into your non-food category in your head; the same place you mentally keep wood, coal, plastic, etc... I found it almost impossible to permanently resist foods that I craved, just by sheer willpower - perpetual self-denial is really hard. I had to think the things I wanted - but wasn't allowed - into a different category and stop thinking about them as food. Once you do that, you'll stop wanting to eat them and stop craving them, making the diet much easier to stick to.

Step 3. (Optional) Take control of your health and try a few other things...

Steps one and two are the most important ones - go do them now, you can come back to these other bits in a few years, if you need to.

These are some of the other things that I tried, after the diet had got me mostly better, to give me the final nudge back to full health. I would not suggest that you try any of these things until you're feeling substantially better and your gut has had a chance to heal. If you try these things too early, when your gut is still ulcerated, bleeding and ill, you may well do more harm than good.


Lots of people recommend various pro-biotic powders, tablets, drinks etc... to help with digestive problems. I've always been sceptical about these, because they immediately drop into the stomach - which is full of powerful hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes - and all the bacteria get immediately killed and broken down. If this didn't happen everyone would be getting food poisoning all the time. However, I eventually found some probiotics which are a) scientifically tested and shown to work and b) available in enteric coated tablets - i.e. the tablets have a hard acid resistant coating, which gets all the probiotics through the stomach unscathed and then breaks open in the alkali environment of you lower intestine, delivering them to the right place.

The bacteria in question is called 'e. coli nissle' and is available in tablet form from Ardeypham, a German pharmacy. There's links to scientific papers studying this probiotic here and some more blurb about the Ardeypharm tablets - called Mutaflor - here


L-Glutamine is an amino acid, available in powder form online of from some health food shops, where it's sold as a body building supplement. If you take a few teaspoons of it with water, twice a day, it really helps heal the gut and clears up diarrhoea. It can clear up bleeding, mucus and diarrhoea within a couple of days of starting taking it. It's very reliable and it's dose dependant - if the bleeding is bad, up the dose. Don't over do it though - more than a tablespoon twice a day is too much.

I only discovered L-Glutamine towards the end, when I was already substantially recovered; I wish I'd found it sooner. It's a great intervention for flare-ups and I would guess that it would be well tolerated even if you were very ill, colitis wise. The only downside is that it's quite expensive if you take it long term - a month's worth will cost you about £20, but it keeps for ever if you keep it dry, so you can just take it when you need to.

Flybogel or Senokot Powder

This is a bulk fiber supplement made from ground isphagula husks. It is, I just discovered to my amazement, available from amazon (UK) - this is the green boxed plain variety - which I think tastes better than the others. Don't get the lemon one. It's also available from all pharmacies and most supermarkets in the UK. If you're in the UK you can get this on prescription from you GP if you ask.

I found that taking a couple of sachets of this a day really helped to firm up bowel movements and reduce urgency. I would say that the diet got me 90% of the way there with this - and fybogel got me the last 10%. It's quite cheap and the effect is dose dependent - bad day, take more. It's probably quite abrasive to a damaged colon and I would strongly advise you not to try this until you're substantially better - almost symptom free, in fact. It's fairly cheap, with a months worth costing about £10.

Other Books

There are a few other books that you might like to have a look at. These contain other information and advice on Colitis and digestive health and whatnot. I've read all of these and used bits and pieces from each at various times. I've found them all useful to one degree or another and I hope you do too:

Listen to your Gut
The Listen to your Gut book, by Jini Patel Thompson details her journey from Colitis back to health and:
"In a nutshell, this program (book & CD-Rom) has EVERYTHING you need to heal your Crohn's, colitis (in all its varying forms), diverticulitis, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It gives you the complete tools you need to heal all the underlying conditions and causes of these diseases." - from the Listen to You Gut website.

It's a big book, with lots of great stuff in and a whole program to follow to cure your IBD. I don't agree with everything that she says, but there's a ton of useful stuff in this book, even if you don't follow the whole program. It's a very encouraging book, telling the tale of someone who's been there and conquered her IBD - it gave me hope that it can be done and some tools to do it. It also encouraged me to 'listen to my gut' and do what felt right for my body, my guts and my disease; to take control of my own health, fight for myself - and get my life back.

The IBS Starch Free Diet
This book is just useful for some of the recipes, many of which are Ok for people on the SCD.
Gut Reaction
This book, by Gudrun Johnson, is a mixed bag and I've found myself using a few of the bits from it, from time to time.
Useful websites

I hope that you find this information helpful. The important thing is that you try, that you fight - and keep fighting until you get your life back. It's your body, your health and your life - it's up to you to fight for it. You can cure your colitis, chrons, IBS or IBD and you can get well again. I did it, so you can do it too. It might be hard work and it might take a long time - but you can do it. Don't listen to anyone, doctor or not, who tells you you're stuck with your disease forever - you aren't.

If I can help you with anything along the way, please feel free to get in touch and I'll try my best to help out.