Season A Factor in Relapse?

relapse dog

Just when things were starting look up…they weren’t. That’s right, yesterday all my so-called Remicade/Imuran improvement seemingly evaporated. Red toilet bowl, extreme falling-asleep-standing-up fatigue for no discernible reason…you get the picture. The cause? Well, my doctor thinks I might be “re-flaring.” (I guess that’s when your flare acts up before you’re fully in remission?) The docs are threatening to return me to the ‘roids, which I will fight tooth and nail. They think I was weaned too early. I did a little research, and I’m hoping it’s something else – namely, that because I’m just 72 hours away from my next Remi dose (and this is my first 4-week stretch between hits) the cocktail is losing its efficacy. I envision a swift return to the road to recovery after Monday. A girl can dream anyway.

That aside, as I was researching possible causes for this unwelcome “re-flare,” I came across an article from the National Center for Biotechnology Information titled (appropriately enough), “Why Do Patients With Ulcerative Colitis Relapse?” Their conclusion: seasonal factors play a significant part in onset and relapse. Of their small study cohort, the vast majority relapsed between August to January, with only a small minority relapsing between January and July. I found this extremely interesting, not only because it’s the first I’ve heard of the seasons playing a role in ulcerative colitis, but also because my onset began right around August 1st of this year. And, I’ve managed to “relapse” before even entering full remission in December. Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s not like other diseases don’t follow seasons – just look at the flu. Though it can strike any time of year, it works hardest between October through May, and is particularly driven in January and February (CDC). My takeaway? The majority of us will enter remission and then contend with the flu. (Who wanted to spend those dreary post-holiday months healthy anyway?)