This is a picture of Recurrent Ileostomy Prolapse: an Old Problem
Type into internet search bar: “can surgery cure colitis”? And you’ll get numerous medical websites saying that the only cure for ulcerative colitis is surgery called “total colectomy” (removal of the entire colon).
Ask a GI doctor practicing traditional medicine, and you’ll get the same answer: surgery is the only true cure for colitis.
Believe me, I know these answers all too well. Years ago, when my own colitis was labeled “unmanageable”, I heard those answers first hand from my own doctors. Amazingly, today, decades later, the standard answer of modern medicine remains the same, as it’s simple formula for colitis cure: NO COLON=NO PROBLEM.
Therefore, many people suffering for years with ulcerative colitis start considering surgical removal of their diseased colon as a final “cure”. They hope that after they’ll get rid of their colon, all their digestive problems will be gone. Poof, just disappear…
Since I and many of all my patients have been faced with the same question at some point of our lives, l MUST SHARE with you few facts that must be considered before making this life-changing decision.
But first, let’s agree on definition of the word “CURE”.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the word “CURE” means “something (such as a drug or medical treatment) that stops a disease and makes someone healthy again.” I fully subscribe to this definition with my emphasis on the words “makes someone healthy again”. This definition in my books means not only elimination of all the symptoms of a disease but also and complete return to one’s optimal health.
Unfortunately, removal of colon does not stop a disease process and most definitely does not restore your health.
The truth is that after colitis surgery (full colectomy) your life will never be the same again…
And its NOT just my opinion.
Here is a medical opinion by Dr. Ochsenkuhn (IBD center of the University of Munich) and Dr. D’Haens (Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam) about colectomy published in GUT Magazine by British Society of Gastroenerology.
“When all medical treatment options have been exhausted, patients with badly controllable UC usually undergo colectomy. It is often stated that by removing the colon normal life can be restored in all patients, this is unfortunately rarely the case. A variety of complications can occur after surgery. Pouchitis, pouch leakage, pelvic abscesses, pouch fistulae, small bowel obstruction, anastomotic stricture, postoperative bleeding, faecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction and female infertility are frequent.”
In addition, in those rare cases when the above mentioned serious complications do not materialize, your life with an external bag instead of you colon can be define as “normal” only with a big stretch.
So, before you’ll decide to remove your colon, please read the following facts that probably you will not hear from your doctor:
Fact #1 After surgery you can have postoperative bleeding. It means internal bleeding, which would require another surgery.
Fact #2 After surgery you can suffer from fecal incontinence. It means without your colon, you might have watery diarrhea up to 15-20 times a day including at night. Plus you may experience electrolytes & vitamins deficiency, chronic fatigue and weight loss because colon gives us life essential functions such as processing fiber and absorption of water, electrolytes, vitamins and other nutrients.
Fact #3 After surgery you may have intestinal obstruction, which can happen anytime within few months or few years after the surgery as a result of scarring of the abdominal tissue. It’s a very painful condition and requires more surgery.
Fact #4 After surgery you can suffer from the most serious complication known as a leak of bowel contents from the two portions of your intestines (that has been sewn together) into abdomen. This can result in abdominal pain, infection and peritonitis. That can require more surgery and powerful antibiotic therapy.
Fact #5 It’s a known medical fact that up to 50% of these after surgery colitis patients will suffer from pouchitis (inflammation of the ileal pouch, which is artificial rectum created in patients who have gone through colectomy), which means more bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain and dehydration.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is the study: Steinhart, A Hillary, and Ofer Ben-Bassat. “Pouchitis: a practical guide.” Frontline gastroenterology vol. 4,3 (2013): 198-204. doi:10.1136/flgastro-2012-100171
Fact #6 After a surgery, patient is wearing an ostomy bag, which is used to collect feces. Many patients have a problem with feces leaking out of ostomy bag.
Fact #7 If you are a woman, after colectomy, you can experience pain during intercourse due to scar tissues. If you are a man, after colectomy you may stop having your normal erections or sperm ejaculation.
Fact #8 Recurrent Prolapsed Ileostomy. Ileostomy is basically a hole in your abdomen that is constructed during surgery. Ileostomy works as a substitution to your large intestine and is used to move feces out of your body. The most common complication of ileostomy is prolapse. It “occurs in 22% of adults and 38% of children.
Don’t take my word for it.
Here is the study: Steinhart, A Hillary, and Ofer Ben-Bassat. “Pouchitis: a practical guide.” Frontline gastroenterology vol. 4,3 (2013): 198-204. doi:10.1136/flgastro-2012-100171
The picture of the recurrent prolapsed ileostomy is at the top of this article.
Also, here is a video about Prolapsed Ileostomy care
So, you can see what IBD patients are dealing with….
However, do not get me wrong here. I am not rejecting colectomy as a choice in dealing with persistent Ulcerative Colitis. In some cases, it is a necessary and the only choice to save patient’s life.
I am just saying that this choice must be made only upon considering ALL the facts and possibilities, and not only those available to YOUR doctor. Search beyond traditional answers, seek second and third opinion, look outside of the establishment and consider ALL the possible ways before making this irreversible decision.
Here are some examples when surgery is necessary and is done to save patient’s life:
1. Toxic Megacolon – happens when colon expands, and person cannot move his bowels. That results in build up of lots of gas and feces in the colon, which could trigger perforation (break open) of the colon. If that happens, stool together with bacteria moves freely into abdomen, which can cause sepsis (sharp drop in blood pressure, confusion, major organs failure), shock and death.
2. Bowel Obstruction – when colon is blocked by cancerous tumors or narrowing of the intestine. The obstruction does not allow stool, gas and fluids move normally inside the colon, and it cuts off the blood supply to the intestinal tissues. Symptoms of bowel obstruction include severe abdominal pain, cramps, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
Conclusion: Neither I nor European doctors believe that surgery (chopping out your colon) is the cure for colitis patients who’s condition is not life threatening. Once you remove this vital organ you cannot get it back. Your colon is gone from your body FOREVER… Plus the risk of multiple painful side effects stays with you FOREVER.
You should know that there are alternatives that your doctor simply may not know about. Please remember: this is YOUR body, YOUR life and YOUR decision.
Methodology of dealing with colitis in Europe is different. After 30 years of research, I can present to you European Colitis & Crohn’s Healing System, which worked so well for me and many of my patients.
Colitis & Crohn’s Healing System™ can be your way to a healthy colon without painful surgeries.
Listen to my patients’ (Emily & Marc) testimonials who have completed Colitis & Crohn’s Healing System.