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What is ulcerative colitis? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies?
What is ulcerative colitis? What are its clinical treatments and home remedies? Ulcerative colitis, as the name suggests, is the inflammation of the colon. Its pathogenesis is multifactorial. To talk about its prevalence, it is the most common cause of inflammatory bowel disease worldwide.
Currently, this disease has no proper cure and is a chronic disorder with a lifelong impact on physical and mental health. Although there is no treatment available for this disease, yet proper management techniques and remedies are available to handle it.
In this article, you'll get to know more about ulcerative colitis, its various clinical treatments and, home remedies?
What is ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is part of a group of diseases called Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. It is basically chronic inflammation of the colon. This inflammation produces tiny sores termed as ‘ulcers’ in the gastrointestinal tract lining. Ulcerations firstly starts in the rectum and then continuously spread to the upper parts of the large intestine. These ulcerative sores relapse and remit and patient typically experience pain in the abdomen.
Types of Ulcerative Colitis
Different types of ulcerative colitis are enlisted below:
- Proctitis: inflammation occurs only in the rectum. It is the mildest form.
- Left-sided colitis: colitis occurs on the left side of the large intestine.
- Pancolitis: colitis has spanned all of the large intestines. It the severest form.1
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
The exact cause and mechanism of ulcerative colitis are still unknown. However, we do know about certain factors that trigger the formation of colonic inflammation. Those triggering factors are mentioned and discussed below:
- Genetic Predisposition: Most ulcerative colitis cases reported are because of the genetic predisposition of the disease in the parents. This means that this disease genetically travels form parents to children.
- Epithelial Barrier Defects: If a person is suffering from a disease that disrupts epithelial cell lining of gastrointestinal, he is more likely risk to get ulcerative colitis.
- Abnormal Immune Responses: Many a time, the person’s immune system abnormally starts attacking his or her own body tissues. This is called ‘auto-immunity.’ Autoimmune patients more likely are prone to ulcerative colitis.
- Environmental Factors: Diet, age, sex and, many environmental factors also influence the development of this disease.2
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary from person to person and severity. At times, they don’t even have symptoms that are called remission, and, other times, symptoms return and become very severe. This is called flare-up.
Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain: It is obvious that the inflammation of the intestine would cause pain at the abdominal site.
- Rectal pain: Every type of ulcerative colitis causes rectal pain, which creates a problem for the patient to sit.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea is the most common symptom of ulcerative colitis.
- Bloody stools: Soreness causes tearing of the blood vessels in the large intestine. This wear and tear cause blood leakage into the fecal sludge.
- Malnutrition: Patients with this condition are unable to absorb the food they eat. It is due to the fact that the cell lining of the large intestine is highly inflamed.3
Although this disease is yet untreatable, we do have certain clinical methods to manage it. Management choice for patients with this is based on the extent of disease severity and variation. Different combinations of below-listed management techniques are used by doctors:
- Diet: Diet is the most important aggravating factor of ulcerative colitis. If you always eat spicy and acidic food, drink soft drinks, and don’t add nutritious meals in your diet, your ulcerative colitis condition worsens. Thus, the first of all patient’s diet is managed and made healthy.
- Use of medicines: Different medicines are used by doctors to besiege the inflammation and prevent its spread. These medicines include antibiotics, aminoglycosides, loperamide, immunosuppressants, and steroids, etc.
- Surgical Intervention: If the disease has worsened in severity and no relief can be given through medicines, surgery is the last resort to treat. Doctors then remove depending upon the severity either rectum(proctocolectomy) or part of the colon(colectomy).4
Home Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis Management
Certain useful home remedies for managing ulcerative colitis are as under:
- Use of Probiotics: Eating foods with probiotics provides you with good bacteria that maintain the health of the gut.
- Use of vitamin C: Eating fruits enriched with vitamin C protects your gut from any inflammatory harm.
- Drinking Plenty of Water: This would ensure that the gut is always hydrated, helping in gut health maintenance.
- Avoidance of milk products: Ulcerative Colitis patients have lactose intolerance. Thus, milky products should be avoided.5
An ulcerative colitis patient may be able to alleviate symptoms by the use of natural remedies. In addition to this, the person must also seek medical guidance from his or her doctor in order to maintain it properly.
1. Ulcerative Colitis (UC): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment. https://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/ulcerative-colitis/what-is-ulcerative-colitis.
2. Ulcerative colitis - The Lancet. https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(16)32126-2.pdf#articleInformation.
3. Ungaro, R., Mehandru, S., Allen, P. B., Peyrin-Biroulet, L. & Colombel, J.-F. Ulcerative colitis. Lancet (London, England) 389, 1756–1770 (2017).
4. Hedayat, K. M., Lapraz, J.-C. & Schuff, B. Colitis, ulcerative. in The Theory of Endobiogeny 173–180 (Elsevier, 2020). doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-816965-0.00024-x.
5. Saxena, A. et al. Dietary agents and phytochemicals in the prevention and treatment of experimental ulcerative colitis. J. Tradit. Complement. Med. 4, 203–217 (2014).