Ulcerative Colitis --- Causes and Top 7
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July 18, 2014, last updated March 19, 2016


By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist












Few things can be more distressing and inconvenient
than having to empty your bowels over six times a day.
Add the symptoms of abdominal pain and fever, and you
have a particularly unpleasant disease.

Ulcerative colitis is a condition affecting the colon which
is related to
Crohn’s disease. Both these conditions are
referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
because they are both inflammatory conditions of the
digestive tract.

Around 250,000 to 500,000 people in the US have
ulcerative colitis, according to a 2007 study from St.
Luke's Family Medicine Residency, Bethlehem,
Pennsylvania, and 1 in 420 people in the UK suffer from
the condition (National Health Service, UK.) Ulcerative
colitis is a long-term condition.

Is there anything you can do to relieve the symptoms?
What causes ulcerative colitis?




Who Gets Ulcerative Colitis?



Ulcerative colitis can occur at any age and equally
affects men and women. Most people are diagnosed
between the ages of 15 and 40, with another peak
between 50 and 80, according to St. Luke's Family
Medicine Residency in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Ulcerative colitis is more common in Caucasian people
from Europe and people of African descent, and less
common in those with Asian background  --- and no one
is entirely sure why.

Ulcerative colitis costs the US $500 million annually and
the condition is responsible for 250,000 physician visits
and 20,000 hospitalizations each year (American
Gastroenterological Association).




What Are The Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?



With ulcerative colitis, your colon and rectum become
inflamed. Your symptoms will vary depending on how
much is inflamed of your colon is affected and how
severe the inflammation is.

Ulcerative colitis causes abdominal pain and diarrhea
(which may be bloody). Severe flare-ups of ulcerative
colitis produce symptoms of fever,
shortness of breath,
irregular heartbeat, and the need to empty your bowels
six or more times a day.

Over the long-term, ulcerative colitis causes
dehydration, anemia, weight loss, arthritis, skin sores,
and liver inflammation.

Arthritis is a particularly high-risk outcome for those with
inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis. A 2015
study from the University Federico in Italy estimates that
between 17% and 39% of those with inflammatory
bowel diseases suffer from arthritis.




What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?


Experts believe that ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune
condition.

Your immune system mistakes healthy bacteria in the
colon for a severe threat, and begins to attack the colon
tissue.

The reason for this autoimmune attack could be genetic,
or related to environmental factors. Some researchers
believe that there is a link between your diet and
ulcerative colitis, and others point to an association with
the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs but
these associations are not certain.




Is Ulcerative Colitis Dangerous?


If the colon becomes highly dilated then it can lead to
perforation of the colon, which can be fatal. You also
have a greater risk of colon cancer when you have
ulcerative colitis.




The symptoms of ulcerative colitis tend to come and go,
and you may experience periods of remission followed
by intense flare-ups. Treatments aim to reduce the
severity and incidence of flare-ups and to minimize the
long-term consequences of the disease.

Here is the recent scientific evidence for ulcerative colitis
remedies:

























1.
Treat Ulcerative Colitis with Fish Oil


Fish oil contains healthy fats – essential fatty acids – and
has been tested to see whether it could be of help to
sufferers of ulcerative colitis. Fish oil is rich in two
omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA.

One study has found that taking fish oil supplements can
indeed help ulcerative colitis.  Those who took 4.2 grams
of fish oil per day experienced significantly fewer active
symptoms, according to a 1992 study from Veterans
Affairs Medical Center, Martinez, California.

Salmon, sardines,  and halibut are all rich in omega-3
fatty acid. Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, which
your body converts to omega-3 fatty acids.




2.
Evening Primrose Oil Can Reduce Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms


Evening primrose oil, also rich in essential fatty acids,
has shown promise as an ulcerative colitis treatment.

Research including a 1993 study from Rayne Institute,
St Thomas' Hospital, London, UK shows evening
primrose oil benefits people suffering from active
ulcerative colitis by reducing the severity of symptoms.

Scientists are not sure how evening primrose improves
ulcerative colitis symptoms but, in general, evening
primrose's high conncentration of GLA (gamma linolenic
acid) lowers inflammation throughout your body.



3.
Correct Nutritional Deficiencies to Relieve Ulcerative
Colitis Symptoms


If you have ulcerative colitis it is easy to develop
nutritional deficiencies.

For example, chronic bleeding can lead to
iron
deficiency, decreased appetite and nutrient loss in the
stool leads to deficiencies in protein, folate, calcium,
magnesium, copper, selenium, zinc, and vitamins A, B12,
C, D, E and K, among others.

A 1998 study from the University of Padua, Italy linked
ulcerative colitis to each of these nutritional problems.
Working with a nutritionist and correcting the
deficiencies helps to reduce symptoms and improve
overall health.




4.
Take Probiotics to Treat Ulcerative Colitis


Taking probiotics – friendly bacteria – can help reduce
the symptoms of ulcerative colitis according to experts.
A 1999 study from the Centre for Digestive Diseases,
The General Infirmary at Leeds, UK compared
treatment with probiotics with treatment with a
standard drug and found that both treatments were
equally as effective.

Sources of probiotics? Yogurt cultures contain
probiotics, as do
artichokes, which contain a
fermentable fiber called inulin which appears to re-
balance the bacterial environment of the colon.




5.
Aloe is Effective for Treating Ulcerative Colitis


Severe active ulcerative colitis was relieved by aloe vera
gel taken orally in a 2004 study by Barts and The
London, Queen Mary School of Medicine and Dentistry,
London, UK. Aloe was more effective than placebo at
reducing symptoms and producing a full or partial
remission.




6.
Does Wheatgrass Juice Help Ulcerative Colitis?


Scientists have proposed wheatgrass juice as an
ulcerative colitis treatment. A 2002 study from The
Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, The Technion,
Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa looked at 24 people
suffering from ulcerative colitis and gave them a dose of
100cc ( 3.38 ounces) of wheatgrass juice every day for
one month.

Wheatgrass juice reduced measures of the disease to a
greater extent than placebo, although the results of this
study have not been replicated.

Regardless of whether wheat grass helps colitis, it of
course should be strictly avoided if you have Celiac's
disease or are allergic to wheat.



7.
Herbal Treatment Andrographis as an Ulcerative
Colitis Remedy


According to a 2011 study by researchers at Hutchison
Medipharma Ltd., Shanghai, China, the herb
andrographis is potentially useful for treating ulcerative
colitis. The study looked at 120 people who took either
400mg of andrographis extract three times a day, or a
standard treatment medication. The two groups of
patients had similar results after eight weeks.


























































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