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Hello,I have been lurking on this site for some time and reading the fantastic support given to many.

This is my first posting and apologies if it is long but wondering if anyone can give me some advice.

I gave up smoking 10 months ago after 25 years.since then I have never felt so ill!!

To cut a long story short and not wanting to be too graphic,I started having bowel problems and after having a colonoscopy,was told I have colitis.

Of course,none of the doctors will directly admit this is because I have given up smoking but Dr Google says this is quite common!!!

Whilst I know this isn't life threatening,it is affecting my life.I am wondering if anyone on here has experienced this and any advice would be appreciated.Thankyou.

15 Replies

Hi there Cazzer, nice to meet you. First of all well done on quitting smoking. I have never heard of a case like yours before but will see if I can find anything out. and will let you know. Your body certainly does change when you quit. :)


Hi Cazzer, I will try and paste some information I have just found.

Smoking and Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is largely a disease of non-smokers. Improvement of symptoms has been seen in patients resuming smoking, having previously given up.

The reason for this apparent improvement has been attributed to the nicotine content of the cigarette and reasons why nicotine may be beneficial include:

It increases the adherent surface mucus in the large intestine which is reduced in UC. The mucus acts as a protective barrier to the mucosa which may be damaged by bacteria and breakdown products in the intestine.

It may have an inhibiting effect on the inflammatory response of the body.

It may relieve proximal constipation

Studies have shown an improvement in symptoms of patients using nicotine patches.

A recent study was conducted on patients with known left-sided colitis using nicotine patches of 5mg increasing to 15mg doses (equivalent to 5-15 cigarettes) over 6 days. This was compared to the effects of a placebo. The dose was increased to 25mg if there was no response after two weeks. An improvement of symptoms was seen in both groups, but the nicotine group showed greater improvement.

The study does, however, has some major flaws:

There was improvement in the symptoms of 17 out of 35 patients in the nicotine group compared to 9 out of 37 in the placebo group, but the proportion in each group who had complete endoscopic or histological remission was not stated. Histological improvement was marginal therefore supporting evidence for medical use of nicotine is weak. The study did show the positive power of the placebo response, i.e. if you think it is going to work, it often will.

The majority of patients were also receiving anti-inflammatory treatment and the effect of the dose of 5-ASA or low dose corticosteroid may have contributed to the apparent improvement.

Some patients withdrew from the trial due to severe side-effects, non-compliance or due to a worsening of symptoms. These results were not included in the final analysis although they should be recorded as treatment failures.

Whilst being able to demonstrate an improvement of the symptoms of UC in smokers, evidence of the true biological effect of nicotine, or a clear mechanism for its effectiveness, was lacking.

Proximal (right-sided) constipation is frequently associated with distal (left-sided) colitis and relapses of the disease. Nicotine has a known laxative effect on the bowel which may explain some of the benefits of smoking in maintaining remission in UC.

However, smoking has a detrimental effect on general health, such as:

increased risk of coronary heart disease.

increased risk of lung disease - it is also well documented that smoking causes lung cancer.

increased risk of peripheral vascular disease (blood clots and narrowing of the leg veins).

reduced absorption of vitamins and minerals and altered taste perception of foods.

reduced general fitness.

premature ageing of the skin.

It would, therefore, seem more prudent to take a more simple and conventional laxative such as Fybogel, Normacol, methylcellulose (Celevac) or lactulose, together with a sensible eating plan, rather than smoking cigarettes.


Hi ya Cazzer its lovely to see you, and big congratulations on your 10 months quit :) :)

I'm sorry but I've never heard of colitis before :o so cant help you, but I see our lovely Jillygirl has found something for you :) maybe that will help you :)

Stay strong Cazzer cos your doing ever so well, very nearly a Year quit now :) :)

Please keep us posted :)


Thankyou so much for your replies and jillygirl for taking the time to find some information.

If nothing else,I must be a very good advert for never starting to smoke!!

Thank's again.

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Well done cazzer, 10 months is a fantastic quit :D sorry to hear your suffering though hun..... :( maybe try the fybogel.... shop around though as it really varies in price,,, :)

Stay positive hun :)


Hi droopyj.Thank's for your reply and advice.Unfortunately I think I have tried just about everything behind the counter at the chemist with no luck.

My doctor has put me on steroids for now,not ideal I know but I'm desperate!

Thank's all for your replies.I had hoped that someone may have experienced the same(with a successful outcome) but I am glad that none of you have and are reaping the rewards of being healthy non smokers.

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Welcome to quit support Cazzar and congratulations on your 10 month quit :) :)

Sorry to hear you're not feeling too good and hope that your condition improves soon :) x


Hi Cazz and congratulations on your 10 months quit - Sorry to hear you are suffering :( hopefully it will come better soon :D :D


Hi Briarwood and glolin and thankyou both for your good wishes.


Amazing, I gave up smoking 38 years ago having smoked from the age of 13 until I was 25, I have had Ulcerative Colitis for 38 years. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

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Hi Kirky,poor you! I have been reading a lot about the link between giving up smoking and ulcerative colitis and we are definitely not alone.I am sure that the two are directly linked,American websites are much more free with their information.

I have been smoke free for 18 months now and can honestly say that my health is worse than the day I gave up!


Hi Cazzer nice to meet you ~ I gave up smoking 3 years ago when my Consultant told me that I had COPD and it was in the same year that I started to suffer with my bowels and it was a coincidence that I received a mailshot from Cancer Research or such government body to do a postal test which I did and it was suspect. So I mentioned it to my GP and specimens were sent to our local hospital and within the same week I was called in for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy to discover that I had Ulcerative Colitis and that was the start ..... no matter what medication nothing has cured it. Still keep having flare ups, the whole of November was a wash out inasmuch I bled probably 3 out of 4 week and as soon as the cramps start I have to get the the toilet within 5 SECONDS otherwise I've had it! Literally a prisoner in my home because too frighten of the accidents I have whilst out. Fed up with Steroids which have made me put on 2 Stone in weight, no doubt it clears the flare-up but then it starts all over again after the course ~ so why take them if it is not a cure. I saw my Gastro Consultant day before yesterday and he is scheduling me to have a Colonoscopy in the New Year, maybe will really find out this time what is going on. So I am almost sure that giving up smoking instigated the Colitis. Hope all goes well with you and will be following your progress ~ chin up!

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Hi ester,nice too meet you too.You have my full sympathy and believe me when I say that I really do know what you are going through!

I am in no doubt that this is a direct result of giving up smoking and I have read that some people have started smoking again and the colitis is gone.

There have been times when I was so bad,bleeding,cramps,afraid to eat that I even considered this as my only option,in spite of all the other risks of smoking.

The steroids only work when you are taking them and the side effects are awful as you know.

After my last colonoscopy I was taken off steroids and now take Pentasa and it is helping.mornings are still not great but I can function well most days now without the panic and embarrassment.

Another thing that has helped enormously is a new eating plan.3 months ago I started The Specific Carbohydrate Diet and the change in my health has improved drastically.It's something I really recommend.

There is also a great website which,if nothing else,makes you feel that you are not alone.Adam-Ihaveuc.com.

I hope some of this helps you and I haven't rambled on too much.

This is a horrible disease and my heart goes out to you.

Take good care and please let me know how you are doing.

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Hi Cazzer :) I'm very sorry, but I seem to have lost your quit date :o :o my fault entirely :o I only have 1 brain cell on a good day, soooo, what do you expect :D :D

Cazzer, this is a long shot, but just wondering if you would try taking some form of Nicotine Replacement :o :o as in a low dose of the gum, or lozenges :) Then you would be getting a small dose of nicotine into your system and see if that helps you at all :o

Ulcerative Colitis sounds a terrible disease :( :( and I tell you, my heart goes out to you Cazzer, Ester164 and to Kirky1952 :) :) :)

Take care now :) :) :)

Pete :)


Hi monky.I see that you have got my correct quit date now.

Thankyou for that.In spite of everything else I am pleased that I have managed to get this far!!

Also,thankyou for the tip regarding nicotine replacement but I am already using the e cigarette which contains nicotine.

It must be some chemical in the cigarettes that keeps this horrible disease at bay.

I do appreciate your kind words.

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