Treatment of UC: A Case Study
Anne Kelty, ND
The Patient’s View
My first appointment with Dr. Kelty came after I recently had been told that my last resort was removal of my colon. I was scared, and called Dr. Kelty at the prompting of another practitioner. I had been suffering with ulcerative colitis for 17 years, not able to fully live my life because of constant concern for being near a restroom: I was having upwards of 20 bowel movements a day. I was in remission from 2000 to 2004, and within six weeks of a colonoscopy, my UC was back and I was in a very serious state, with no one able to help me; doctors only prescribing pills that were not helping my condition.
I was hospitalized on two separate occasions. I had been treated for viral infections, bacterial infections and parasitic infestations. None of these treatments sent my UC back into remission. Physically, I was exhausted, coming home from work early and resting. I was not sleeping, and I was experiencing myriad gastrointestinal symptoms, including heartburn, acid reflux, esophageal strictures, esophageal spasms, lower abdominal cramping, gas, hemorrhoids and about 20 bowel movements a day. The stool was composed of mainly blood and mucus. I was losing weight.
When I made an appointment with Dr. Kelty, I was skeptical and hopeful. I thought, “there has to be another way.”
Dr. Kelty’s View
When I first met this patient, she was hopeful that I could help her. We discussed that she had been ill for a long time and it would take some time for her body to recover – if, in fact, it would. I could offer no guarantee to the effects of naturopathy. She needed encouragement and support while changing and adjusting to the new thought and treatment, which included real-time phone consultations addressing the foods she was purchasing and preparing.
At the first follow-up appointment, she walked in the door and said, “I think I want to quit.” I encouraged her and reflected on all the good work and progress she had made in the past two weeks, to which she admitted, “I am seeing consistencies for the first time in a long time. I am sleeping better, although I am taking Ambien; bowels are more formed; water is clear, not cloudy; less mucus and blood.” This was before she began taking nutritive formulas.
Prior to her next appointment, she saw her gastroenterologist. He performed a Guiac test, and the results were very promising. There was no indication of blood in her stool. In his eyes, she was now in remission. The next task was weaning her from the cyclosporine. With each previous attempt to remove the medication, she would develop another acute attack.
The patient responded well to her treatment, which included diet, probiotics, demulcent/anti-inflammatory formula, gut permeability formula, adrenal support and meal journaling.
About a month into the treatment, she reported: “When I saw a formed stool today, I was so excited! I can hold longer.” Her energy levels were growing; she was beginning to feel hungry. She reported that she had been eating more, and is getting eight hours of sleep.
Six weeks later she was having parasthesias, decreasing with the reduction of the cyclosporine. Other symptoms have also improved, including a reduction in flatulence, cramping, bloating, and esophageal spasms and reflux.
Today, the patient is enjoying life. She is able to work and have a social life. She has more energy, and continues to delve deeper into the heart of her condition. The heightened awareness of her body’s language has made a dramatic impact on her ability to maintain health.
It was important to remove potential allergens, including wheat, dairy, corn, peanuts, meat, soybean and other beans, citrus, sugar and hot sauces. Fortunately, prior to our first appointment the patient had realized that some of these foods were a problem.
- Breakfast: Brown rice flour cereal with 2 tsp. olive oil
- Snack: Apple sauce, grated apples or baked apples
- Lunch: Vegetable puree, using a combination of celery, parsley, squash, zucchini, pumpkin, carrot, potato broccoli and cabbage, steamed and blended; and 2 tsp. olive oil. Rice, millet or barley.
- Afternoon snack: Same as morning.
- Dinner: Same as lunch.
Notes: The patient ate the vegetable puree twice a day, and steamed broccoli and cabbage once to twice daily. She continued to lose weight, so there was no limit on the amount of food. This was the patient’s menu for about three weeks. She began seeing consistencies not experienced before, such as less mucus and blood. Additional therapeutics included daily journaling and meditation.
3 Weeks Into Program
- The menu expanded, adding oatmeal and eggs, each three times a week. The patient tolerated these well, and we continued with these additions for two to three weeks.
- Goat yogurt was introduced, with no apparent side effects.
- Protein in the form of fish was added three times a week.
- A demulcent 2TID aided in soothing the ulcerations in the GI tract. Deglycyrrhizinated licorice root and dried powder of unripe plantain banana supports the natural defenses of the gastric mucosa without inhibiting gastric acid secretion. Slippery elm and marshmallow root, both of which are rich in mucilage and traditionally used for soothing demulcent properties and as nutritional support for gut mucosa.
- A combination of glutamine (for intestinal cell energy production), N-Acetylglucosamine (for mucus enhancement), quercetin chalcone, ginger and the unique, beneficial probiotics Lactobacillus sporogenes and Saccharomyces boulardii (for gut flora normalization and increased secretory IgA activity),
- A specially formulated blend of tonifying botanicals, adaptogens and key nutrients (two upon waking, two at lunch) designed to provide nutritional support for the adrenals.
Notes: When the patient began taking the supplements, she saw a remarkable change: She began having formed bowel movements and water was clear; though she did report the presence of hemorrhoids. She was not experiencing abdominal gas or bloating, no gurgling. Ten days after beginning the supplements, she had an appointment with her MD. The guiac test came back negative; he was very surprised. When he asked what she was taking, she showed him the products she was using, and he said to continue with the program, since she was seeing positive results.
Six weeks into the program, the patient began to regain her appetite. She ate three meals and two snacks per day.
- Diet: Eggs, oatmeal and fish were not aggravating her condition, so we added walnuts, bananas and raisins.
- Supplements: Same, though at lower dosages.
- Additional Supplements: I felt that, due to the extended GI illness and compromizing of the GI system, she needed immune boost and support (2QID).
- Sleep: Sleep was difficult; Ambien had been prescribed. She is now getting a few hours of sleep per night.
- Physical Affect: Esophageal spasms are less frequent, and there is no abdominal cramping, although she continues to have some abdominal discomfort. She performs no exercise.
- Prescribed Medication: 1) Cyclosporine. A severe exacerbation of symptoms occurred each time this medication was reduced. We began treatment October 4; on November 11, the patient reported that she had successfully reduced (with the assistance of her MD) her evening dose from 150mg to zero. She began reducing the daytime dose, and was experiencing no adverse effects, though she continues to experience side effects at a reduced rate, including tingling and chills of extremities, and dark hair growth. 2) Sulfasalazine. 3) Folic acid.
- Energy: Returning
- Sleep: 8 hours a night, reducing Ambien.
- Extremities: No parastesia or chills.
- Digestion/BM: Since reduction of supplements, bowel movements are not formed, and digestion is incomplete.
- Supplements: Raised original supplements to 3QID; Arnica 30c.
- Notes: The patient reports that cyclosporine has been reduced from 150mg to 75mg once a day. No blood or mucus is present.
Now that the patient was stable, we moved into a systemic healing regimen. We began introducing beneficial oils like grapeseed, walnut and flax. Since her bowels were functioning somewhat normally, and the Cyclosporine was no longer a factor, it was time to gently cleanse and detoxify the body. Since she had UC for many years, I felt there was a buildup of toxins in her body. I chose a once-a-day treatment, because I didn’t want to induce a detoxification overload. She used a “rice protein-based nutritional supplement designed to be used in patient protocols for nutritional support for detoxification and gastrointestinal integrity … as an aid in hepatic and bowel detoxification, for systemic inflammatory control, allergy relief and in protocols for increased gut permeability, inflammation, or dysbios.”
We introduced Dr. Thom’s Basic Treatment Guidelines (BTG) and homeopathics. BTG in brief:
- Apple cider vinegar in water 15 minutes prior to a meal
- Ground seeds – cyclical for women following their menstrual cycle (or moon cycle for post menopausal).
- Super EFA – again, cyclical
- HMF potent powdered probiotic
- Water – with added chlorophyll
- Hydrotherapy – cold shower
- Dry skin brushing
- Castor oil packs
- Breathing and relaxation
- Healing visualization
- Homeopathic solutions – we used formulas for digestion, nervousness, and endocrine.
The patient reports feeling better than she has in a very long time. Body functions are normalizing and she is able to work a full day and continue life after work. She is amazed that more people are not utilizing this form of medicine.
Dr. Anne J. Kelty is a graduate of the National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Ore. She is currently practicing at the Muscular Sports Therapy Center in Marblehead, Mass. In her practice she works with patients to develop the whole body approach of mind, body and spirit. As patients develop and integrate this practice, their health improves greatly.