Irritable Bowel Disease
What is Ulcerative colitis?
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic gastrointestinal disease which affects only the large intestine also called the colon. It is usually seen in the rectum but can extend to the entire length of the colon and results from the innermost lining of the large intestine becoming inflamed. Ulcers or small open sores, can form on the surface lining which can bring on pain and stimulates the large intestine to release frequently. This frequent elimination creates diarrhea which can sometimes be bloody due to the ulcers.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are the two primary inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD’s). They are both forms of chronic inflammation of the intestine. However, in Crohn’s disease is generally the more serious of the two since the inflammation attacks the entire wall of the colon rather than just the inner lining.
We still don’t entirely know what causes ulcerative colitis. One popular theory is that it is 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 possible that it is a hereditary condition and generally presents between the ages 15-40. Some cases seem to be linked to an allergic reaction caused by certain foods such as gluten, corn, and dairy products.
There is ample evidence that many of the symptoms of Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease can be controlled with dietary modifications, and since many of the medical treatments available can have serious side effects, we promote starting with some proven natural remedies for relieving symptoms. These can typically be used in conjunction with any recommendations your physician has prescribed.
Here are six things you can do:
- Cut out refined carbohydrates (particularly sugar) from your diet.
- Eliminate specific foods like wheat (gluten), corn, and dairy, that may be causing allergic/sensitivity reactions that lead to flare-ups.
- Start implementing fiber-rich foods into your diet that are high in complex carbohydrates including; fruits, vegetables and corn and gluten-free as since they may initiate allergic reactions. Start slowly and add gradually with introducing more fiber-rich foods into your daily intake.
- Try an elimination/challenge clean eating program to discover other highly sensitive/allergic foods that you may be consuming.
- 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.
- Supplement with omega-3 oils (i.e., fish and flaxseed). These fats can be beneficial in reducing inflammation. Try adding 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil per day and see if you notice a difference.