Ulcerative Colitis

What Is Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that results in ulcers or long-lasting inflammation in the digestive tract.  Affecting the inner lining to the rectum and large intestine, Ulcerative Colitis is closely related to Crohn's Disease, which is another inflammatory bowel disease.  Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition and while there is no known cure, there are several options to help reduce symptoms and achieve long-term remission.  People with this condition can occasionally experience to life-threatening complications, but this is not always the case. 

Signs Of Ulcerative Colitis

The symptoms Ulcerative Colitis can vary depending on the location and severity of inflammation.  The different symptoms will reflect the extent of the inflammation, but patients generally experience the following:

  • Diarrhea (often with pus or blood)
  • Rectal pain
  • Rectal bleeding (or passing a small amount of blood with stool)
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis

While the exact cause of Ulcerative Colitis remains unknown, most medical experts attribute the development of this condition to an immune system malfunction, although it is possible that diet and high stress levels can play a minor role as well.  When the immune system attempts to fight bacteria or foreign invaders, an abnormal immune response can cause cells to simultaneously attack the digestive tract.  The continued abnormal immune responses can cause chronic inflammation and ulceration of the intestines.  Other common risk factors or possible causes may include:

  • Genetics (common for people with family history of the disease to develop it)
  • Race (Caucasians have the highest rate of Ulcerative Colitis, but it can occur in any race)
  • Age (it usually begins before age 30, but it can occur at any age)
  • Osteoporosis
  • Liver Disease

Dherbs Approach...adjusting your diet is always key!

Natural Remedies
  • It should come as no surprise that maintaining a healthy diet is the first order of business, when it comes to reducing the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.  A 2014 clinical study found that people who consumed high-fat diets, including greasy foods, dairy products, caffeine, and certain raw fruits and vegetables, had more frequent symptoms.  There is no one-size-fits-all diet recommendation because each person will be sensitive to different foods.  It is recommended to keep a food journal and note what foods induce symptoms.  People should also avoid sugar because it can hinder the pancreas' ability to produce anti-inflammatory enzymes.
  • People with Ulcerative Colitis can benefit from consuming bromelain, an enzyme that can reduce flare ups and other symptoms.  This enzyme, which helps the body break down proteins, is found in pineapples and studies show that it has anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Consider experimenting with various herbal remedies to help manage symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been using herbal remedies to treat Ulcerative Colitis symptoms for quite some time.  One of the most commonly used herbs has been Indian frankincense, or boswellia, which is an Ayurvdeic herb that has displayed anti-inflammatory and antiarthritic effects in in vitro animal studies.  It can also help to inhibit intestinal motility and may reduce inflamed intestines.
  • Slippery elm has been used in Native American cultures to help remedy diarrhea and other digestive-related issues.  Recent studies have found that slippery elm may be beneficial for those with inflamed bowels.  The antioxidant properties of slippery elm are promising for reducing inflammation, but more research needs to be done for it to be recommended as a commercial treatment.
  • Because stress can play a role in the development of the condition, research indicates that decreasing stress levels can positively affect the intestines.  In fact, a study involving 2,007 adults with inflammatory bowel diseases like Ulcerative Colitis found that anxiety and high stress levels increased the frequency of symptoms.  To reduce stress levels, it is recommended to take part in deep breathing exercises, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, floatation therapy, or Tai Chi.
  • Exercise can be a useful technique to reduce inflammation and other complications associated with Ulcerative Colitis.  Moderate-intensity exercises like biking, swimming, yoga, or walking can release protective myokines like irisis, helping to decrease bowel inflammation.  Yoga specifically can kills two birds with one stone by decreasing stress levels and exercising.  Yoga actually helps to flood the digestive system with oxygen and nutrients to promote healing.
Things you should eat
  • Pineapple
  • Turmeric
  • Probiotics (fermented vegetables, sauerkraut, kimchi)
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Avocado
  • Walnuts
  • Ashwagandha
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
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