Ulcerative colitis – Causes, treatment, and more
Ulcerative colitis is characterized by inflammation of the colon and rectum. In this condition, small ulcers align the large intestine and interfere with regular bodily functions. Patients may find it difficult to control their bowel movements due to flare-ups. If the ulcers continue to develop over the large intestine, symptoms may take a turn for the worse. Let’s look at the disease a little more closely.
What causes ulcerative colitis?
There is no specific cause for the condition. However, some factors, such as age, genes, or ethnicity, may increase the risk. Also, people between 15 and 30 years, and senior citizens are more susceptible than others. Besides, if someone has ulcerative colitis, there’s a chance that others in the family may develop it too. One’s diet and stress can also cause flare-ups of the large intestine, but it doesn’t directly cause ulcerative colitis.
What are the signs and symptoms?
To manage any disease, it is essential to look out for symptoms that keep recurring and seek diagnosis immediately. Ulcerative colitis patients often notice blood in stools due to perforated bleeding ulcers. The condition can further cause unbearable abdominal pain. Besides, one may also feel like the colon isn’t empty even after several trips to the bathroom.
Other ulcerative colitis symptoms include loss of appetite, fever, sore joints, feeling dehydrated, and weight loss. The symptoms may be mild or severe depending on the extent to which the large intestine is affected.
How do doctors treat ulcerative colitis?
Doctors usually suggest taking medications that target and relieve inflammation, such as corticosteroids, aminosalicylates, and immunosuppressants. These medicines can reduce the burning sensation and pain from the colitis and prevent severe complications during flare-ups.
If the medicines don’t improve one’s condition and the flare-ups are recurrent and potentially life-threatening, the doctor may advise undergoing surgery. This involves removing the colon or diverting the small intestine through a permanent opening in the abdomen so that stools can be collected in an attached pouch.
Can ulcerative colitis be managed at home?
If flare-ups are mild, it may be possible to care for colitis at home. A few natural remedies can soothe the swollen intestine and also act as preventive care. First and foremost, one’s lifestyle can impact symptoms, so it is crucial to incorporate colon-healthy practices into one’s routine. Stress-relieving activities like yoga, exercise, and deep breathing can free the body from strain and help with symptoms like sore joints and abdominal pain. These activities can naturally reduce inflammatory markers and create healthy conditions for the colon to heal.
Those with ulcerative colitis may also benefit from herbal therapy that uses aloe vera gel or wheatgrass juice to keep the colon healthy and free from toxins.
Are dietary changes necessary?
A nutritious diet is the way to go when it comes to treating ulcerative colitis. This means patients should avoid foods with high levels of trans fat, carbonated foods, and processed meats if they truly want to heal from the disease. On the other hand, they must say yes to foods with soluble fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Fatty fish like salmon and sardines, especially, is great for ulcerative colitis as it is an excellent source of omega-3 that helps reduce inflammation.
A healthy diet and a fulfilling and stress-free lifestyle are two things that ulcerative colitis patients will strongly benefit from. This is more likely to pave the path for recovery when paired with traditional health care.