Flo Winterflood

Location
Brighton, UK


Experience

Ulcerative colitis

Travelling with IBD

About Flo

I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in 2004 whilst doing my GCSEs. I can only assume the stress of exams started what was perhaps inevitable. Thankfully, due to a very supportive and open family, I had caught the disease whilst still ‘mild’ and I responded well to mesalazine.

Since then I had UC under control with this medication, even coming off it completely for a couple of years. I then had fairly significant relapse after university and went back on the meds – a high dose and colifoam. From this point I sought help from Chinese medicine to adjust eating patterns and now have dedicated myself to an ultra healthy, gluten-free, sugar-free pescatarian diet, yoga and plenty of exercise (despite once being told by a specialist gastroenterologist that diet had no effect!).

I found some self-designed CBT very helpful, which I have developed as a coping strategy to the anxiety UC can cause. I found this has profound positive effects on the mind’s relationship with the body.

I’m just recovering from another relapse that lasted 2 years on and off. It seemed to begin with a very stressful episode of working in clinical research! I left the office job and moved to Sri Lanka where I spent 18 months experimenting with Ayurvedic medicine. I learnt a lot about what can help after experiencing some ill-advised treatment.

During this time I also trained to become a yoga teacher and this helped me immensely - just after my training what seemed like perfect health appeared again, but a few UTIs requiring antibiotics and some poisoned fish sent my bowel reeling again and I was back to square one!

Now, after hard work and dedication to my health, including 3 months on a basic Ayurvedic diet and some very specific yoga practice (and probably drinking less!), my bowel is happy and I am healthy. I'm gradually coming down off the meds again. Inspired by my tumultuous journey through alternative medicine I am developing yoga sequences and eventually a course of yoga and meditation specifically for people with IBD.

I love to share ideas from my own journey and hear from others for inspiration and health tips. UC is part of my life and has influenced my healthy lifestyle choices but I know a relapse can always be just around the corner. “Symprove” (a probiotic) was the latest advice I’ve taken and am very pleased with the results so far! I feel it has finally settled me into remission.