“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Monday, April 12, 2010

The SCD and Flare Ups

"I've been on the SCD, strictly, without cheating, and I got a flare up. How can I trust the diet is working?"

I've read lots of books on UC and Crohn's, diets and nutritional aids to better health. I keep up with reading testimonials about the SCD; chats, forums, you name it. This thought, or sentiment is a common theme I see. Then, I usually see a later post by the same person saying the flare didn't last long and they're sticking with the diet. I've even seen folks post months or a year later encouraging folks to stay on the diet--it worked for them.

Small flares can be common, especially at 3 and 6 months. No one knows why, really. There are theories, but since the diet hasn't been studied, no one can tell for sure. It most likely has to do with the bacterial reproduction cycle, and die off--Major die off events can trigger flare-like symptoms.

I had 2 such events, and they were awful, though they only lasted about 24 hours. At about 3.5 months, during my normal bike ride home, I began feeling that familiar achy, tired, out-of-body feeling that I get before a bad spell. I got home, collapsed on the floor and began shaking uncontrollably. I had fever, itchy skin, and diarrhea--even though I was following the diet strictly. It happened again at about 5.5 months, but this time it wasn't as bad. Progress.

It took me a while to get the hang of the diet, what I could eat and in what quantities, so maybe I was doing something wrong. But many people experience small flares during the first months on the diet as your body readjusts itself. You need to balance taking care that you don't put yourself in danger (too much blood or diarrhea can put you in serious trouble), but know that--for whatever reason--small flare ups can be common in the beginning.

Stick with the diet. It works for a large amount of people. As long as you're seeing improvement, you're on the right track. Log your diet and symptoms so you know if you're improving.

Bottom Line: Small flare ups in the beginning are common. Track your diet to make sure that food isn't the problem, and stick to it! You should see improvement over time.

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