Home // Ulcerative Colitis and Natural Healing
For those suffering from ulcerative colitis, symptoms may vary in intensity, but they’re never out of mind. Having an inflammatory bowel disease means that you never know when mild symptoms may ramp up to a debilitating, health-threatening level, or when a flare-up may strike. While what causes ulcerative colitis isn’t fully understood, we do have insight into what is behind many of its symptoms and what can aggravate them. Most importantly, we also have insight into how it can be treated without long-term reliance on pharmaceuticals.
Ulcerative colitis is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the digestive tract. It affects the innermost lining of the large intestine (the colon) and the rectum. While the symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the disease and what portion of the digestive tract it affects, they can include:
In addition, children with the disease may fail to grow.
Most people with ulcerative colitis develop the disease gradually rather than abruptly, and they experience mild to moderate symptoms. Some also have periods of remission when symptoms go away.
Diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is typically done through procedures and lab tests that biopsy affected tissue and help to rule out similar conditions like Crohn’s disease or possible infections. The type of ulcerative colitis is often classified by its location, though the symptoms of each type tend to overlap. These include ulcerative proctitis (inflammation only in the rectum); proctosigmoiditis (inflammation in the rectum and sigmoid colon); left-sided colitis (inflammation from the rectum through the sigmoid and descending portions of the colon); and pancolitis (inflammation throughout the entire colon).
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but understanding of the disorder is improving. Once, it was believed that stress and diet were behind the symptoms, but we now know that while these may exacerbate the condition, they don’t produce it. It is believed that ulcerative colitis may be a form of autoimmune disorder, in which the body mistakenly attacks normal cells in the digestive tract instead of viruses or bacteria.
Ulcerative colitis affects men and women equally. However, factors that increase your risk are:
It’s important to note that while ulcerative colitis usually isn’t fatal, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as severe bleeding or dehydration, perforated colon, rapidly swelling colon (toxic megacolon), increased risk of blood clots, osteoporosis, elevated risk of colon cancer, and inflammation of the skin, joints, and eyes.
As with many types of autoimmune disorders, traditional medical treatment relies on pharmaceuticals to combat inflammation and suppress the immune system. Some, like corticosteroids, have serious side effects that mean they can only be used for short periods of time. Others require careful monitoring during use because they can negatively affect the pancreas and liver. Of course, any immunosuppressant also makes patients more vulnerable to infectious diseases. If these approaches fail, surgery may be recommended to remove the colon entirely.
Understandably, those struggling to find a way to live with ulcerative colitis often share the same question: Isn’t there a better way? The answer is yes. At the Natural Healing Center, we can help you treat the inflammation that is at the root of ulcerative colitis and similar disorders without long-term reliance on medication.
Our approach starts with the diet. What we eat is the essential foundation for our overall health, and ensuring that the body gets the proper nutrients from healthy, unprocessed sources is the essential first step. Through Nutrition Response Testing, we’re able to pinpoint exactly what each individual needs to reduce inflammation, avoid foods that could trigger flare-ups, and moderate their immune response without going through a lengthy elimination diet. We’re able to recommend whole-food supplements that make it easy to stay on course with a healthful diet and maintain symptom-free periods of remission.
Our individualized treatment plans also pay careful attention to the mind-body connection. Because our physical and mental health are so closely intertwined, modalities that reduce stress and negative emotions such as Emotion Code can be key in keeping chronic conditions under control. While each patient is different, and our recommendations for each will vary, the goal is the same—long-term well-being, not merely relief from symptoms.
If you would like to find out more about how the Natural Healing Center can help you reclaim your wellness from ulcerative colitis, contact us here for your free initial consultation.