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I have been living with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) for twenty one years now. At age nineteen I was diagnosed with UC after experiencing symptoms I initially believed to be irritable bowl or exposure to an environmental trigger such as a bacteria from overseas. Primary symptoms included diarrhoea, cramping and mucus.

For many years I ignored the symptoms and learnt to live with the diseases (without medication),  however, by age thirty I realised my disease had become quite debilitating. Prolonged inflammation was damaging the walls of my gastrointestinal tract and resulted in hospitalisation for abscesses.  At this time, I decided to take more ownership of my disease, my diet, and decided to complement prescription medication with natural medicine.

I have been a patient of Peter Kahler for the past twelve years, and Peter has been instrumental throughout my journey. Whilst logical for some, I didn’t initially understand the relationship between inflammation and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD); most important was understanding IBD is an auto-immune disease. Peter educated me.

My gastroenterologist works with me to manage my IBD with aminosalicylates and immunomodulators. Whilst necessary to manage my disease, I am also a big believer in natural and complementary medicine. Over the past twelve years I have been working with Peter on a variety of measures to reduce my inflammation, improve absorption of nutrients, keep a stable microbiome and detox (where required). Probiotics, Prebiotics, liver support, curcumin and a variety of other minerals/vitamins, that assist on a cellular level, are now staple in my diet.

I have also come to better appreciate how my body works and the foods that ‘trigger’ a flare-up. A whole foods diet is my preference – one low in refined carbohydrates, carbonated drinks, sugar and fried food. I do not necessarily avoid foods, but am always conscious of what I put in my mouth. I ensure foods known to reduce inflammation, and boost immunity, are present.

I have been fortunate enough to evade a severe attack for the past six years. When I fell pregnant with my second child recently, I decided to stop all prescription medication – a decision my gastroenterologist did not endorse but respected. I consulted Peter throughout the entire pregnancy and am pleased to report I remain in remission six months post-partum. This is not something I am advocating, as it was a personal decision and each individual is different. However, I do believe my history of prescription and complementary medicine strengthened my immune system.

IBD is a constant battle and a disease I have learnt to live with. Remaining abreast of new research, via Peter and my gastroenterologist, and maintaining good health with help from both parties, is now my modus operandi.

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