Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic disease that affects only the large intestine. It is usually seen in the rectum but can extend to the entire length of the colon (the large intestine). The lining of the large intestine that is innermost becomes inflamed. Small open sores, known as ulcers, can form on the lining surface. The inflamed lining brings on pain and stimulates the large intestine to release frequently, which creates diarrhea; which is sometimes bloody because of the open sores (ulcers).
Ulcerative colitis is one of two inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD’s). These diseases are forms of chronic inflammation of the intestine. The other form is called Crohn’s disease, which is more serious since the inflammation attacks the entire wall of the colon rather than just the inner lining.
It is not really known what causes ulcerative colitis. One theory that is widely held is that it might be an autoimmune reaction. Here, the immune system attacks the colon’s own tissues when it mistakes food, bacteria or other substances in the digestive tract as health threats, thereby creating the chronic inflammation that is associated with the disorder.
It is also thought to be hereditary, with onset usually starting between ages 15-40. Some cases seem to be linked to an allergic reaction caused by certain foods such as corn, wheat and dairy products.
Start With Natural Treatments
There is ample evidence that many of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can be controlled with dietary considerations, and since many of the medical treatments available can have serious side effects, it makes sense to start with some proven natural remedies for relieving symptoms. It is always wise to have a doctor monitor your condition, especially if symptoms persist and are severe. Consult with your doctor about any alternative remedies suggested here that may enhance the success of whatever treatment course you may be following.
Here are five natural things you can do:
- You can cut out refined carbohydrates (sugar) from your diet.
- Eliminate specific foods like corn, wheat and dairy, that may be causing allergic reactions that lead to flare-ups.
- Start implementing fiber-rich foods into your diet that are high in complex carbohydrates, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – other than corn or wheat, since they may initiate allergic reactions.
- Deficiency in vitamins and minerals may result from the chronic diarrhea and erratic absorption that accompanies ulcerative colitis, so a high dose multi-vitamin/mineral supplement should be added, along with extra vitamin C. Look for supplements that have four or five times the RDA of most of the nutrients.
- The omega-3 oils found in flaxseed and fish are beneficial in reducing inflammation; adding 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil per day can help.