Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ulcerative Colitis - How To Fight It?

An inflammatory disease of the bowel, ulcerative colitis is characterized by the formation of open sores and ulcers in the mucus lining of the colon. Treatment for this disease usually includes, drug therapy and surgery but natural remedies are also available

Often confused with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis along with Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease which is characterized by mild to severe inflammation of the bowel. A disease of the large intestine, ulcerative colitis causes severe inflammation in the colon and rectal region which is accompanied by open sores and ulcers. The major symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, bloody stool and abdominal cramps. It may also be accompanied by bloating, flatulence, weight loss and extra intestinal manifestations like joint pains and arthritis.

The inflammation kills the cells lining the colon leading to bleeding and pus production and the gradual formation of sores and ulcers in the mucosal lining of the colon. This inflammation of the lining also causes the colon to pass stool frequently leading to diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis is often difficult to diagnose as its symptoms are a lot similar to other intestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and another inflammatory bowel disease called Crohn's disease. Diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, nutritional imbalance, food intolerances are some of their common symptoms with ulcerative colitis. Due to these similarities in symptoms, it often becomes very difficult to diagnose the correct disease.

However, from drug therapy to surgery several treatment procedures are available for curing the disease. Ulcerative colitis is a very serious disease and if left untreated can even lead to cancer. The treatment course is usually decided upon depending on the severity of the disease. Its goal being induction and maintenance of remission, drug therapy involves the use of Aminosalicylates, Corticosteroids and Immunosuppressant drugs. While Aminosalicylates and corticosteroids reduce inflammation, the immunosuppressant drugs reduce inflammation by suppressing the immune system and are used in patients who do not respond to the other two drugs.

But in some situations surgery becomes necessary. In case of massive spread of the disease with excessive bleeding, ruptured colon or suspected carcinoma, surgical removal of the colon known as colectomy is the common procedure.

For patients looking for alternative cure to ulcerative colitis, several natural remedies and herbal treatments are available. With negligible side effects, 'probiotics' a friendly gut resident bacteria help in killing harmful bacteria, reducing inflammation and improving the mucus lining of the gut. Though fatty food should be strictly avoided in bowel related problems, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid such as fatty fish help in healing the inflammation. Capsules of Boswell and Aloe Vera gel also have an important role in reducing inflammation. Alternatively, as bowel problems often result from stress and lifestyle changes, mind-body treatments like meditation, relaxation techniques and hypnotherapy also produce very good results. A far more serious disease compared to irritable bowel syndrome or crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis needs immediate and proper medical attention.

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