One type of inflammatory bowel condition is ulcerative colitis. This disease occurs when the digestive tract becomes chronically inflamed. Ulcerative colitis usually affects the rectum and the colon or large intestine.
Ulcerative Colitis may cause symptoms that include:
- Loss of weight
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Difficulty having a bowel movement despite the desire to do so
- Sensation of urgency
- Bleeding in the rectum
- Bloody stools
- Stomach pain
Symptoms can also arise outside the gut and may involve mouth ulcers, lesions, skin rashes, eye inflammation, and joint pain
Natural Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis
Like a lot of human health conditions, ulcerative colitis has no known cause. For a lot of sufferers, alternative therapies are highly popular; however, they need to complement and not replace conventional therapy. Some of the nine types of natural therapies that are utilized for ulcerative colitis are:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Oral Aloe Vera Gel
- Folic acid
- Mind-Body Therapies
This article is limited to talking about diet, acupuncture and mind-body therapies.
In a study done in Japan, the role of dietary factors was researched regarding its role in the rise of inflammatory bowel disease. The study involved 111 subjects with ulcerative colitis who were provided with food questionnaires.
The result of the survey indicated that a high consumption of sweets correlated with the increased risk of ulcerative colitis risk. The study showed that vitamin C was able to shield people from developing ulcerative colitis; the higher the intake of vitamin C, the lower the risk of ulcerative colitis. Some of the foods high in vitamin C include spinach, strawberries, parsley, and red bell peppers.
A journal named Gut posted a study that observed patients with ulcerative colitis in remission for a whole year. The consumption of processed and red meat, alcohol and protein increased the possibility of relapse. The researchers theorize that sulphate compounds and high sulphur content in a lot of these foods is the cause, since the intake of these contents also correlated with relapse.
For certain people, carbohydrates can be the reason for their ulcerative colitis. Ms. Elaine Gottschall popularized a book entitled the Specific Carbohydrate Diet after it was used to help her daughter get well from her ulcerative colitis.
Ms. Gottschall later on, wrote a book called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. This book stated that carbohydrates, as types of sugar, can increase and sustain the yeast and bacteria growth in the intestines, resulting in an imbalance that then leads to yeast or bacterial overgrowth. The yeast and bacteria yield acids and toxins that damage the lining of the intestines. These yeast and bacteria also disrupt the function of digestive enzymes leading to improper digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.
Based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), pain is the result of blocked energy along vessels of energy in the body. These vessels are unblocked using acupuncture needles inserted into these invisible vessels known as meridians.
Western medicine explains that acupuncture works by releasing natural painkilling opioids. The needles transmit signals that soothe the sympathetic nervous system, and produce and send out hormones and neurotransmitters.
A typical cost of an acupuncture treatment range from as low as $60 to as high as $120. This therapy is tax-deductible and a lot insurance plans now cover for it.
For people who want to get acupuncture, it is recommended that you try it initially for several weeks one to three times a week.
The German-based University Clinic of Essen did a study on 30 patients who were in remission of their ulcerative colitis. Some of these patients were given mind-body therapies to see how these affect their condition. The patients were placed in an intervention group that consisted of a 10-week 6 hr/week structured training program involving a Mediterranean diet, moderate exercise, and stress-management training , self-care strategies and behavioral techniques and self-care strategies while the rest received typical care (control group). The results of the study revealed a quality of life improvement of the patients who received had mind-body therapies. The two groups were evaluated by standardized questionnaires. However, for physiological or clinical parameters, there were no differences.
Certain breathing procedures that utilize the mind-body connection have shown to relieve pain. They integrate meditation, movement, breathing and body awareness. These breathing techniques are remarkable since anyone can do them in the comfort of their own home at zero cost. Some of the effective mind-body therapies that a person can try include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Relaxation Response
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
Other Natural Remedies
- Ginkgo biloba
- Devil’s Claw
- Slippery Elm
These natural remedies are just a few that show promise for ulcerative colitis. They need to be carefully used and should be done under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. If a person with ulcerative colitis leaves his/her condition untreated, it could lead to serious consequences. Therefore, it is important to try out complementary treatments that may even be more effective than conventional therapies for one’s condition.
Willow Tree Wellness Clinic
1607 NE 16th Avenue
Portland, OR 97232