While the cause of ulcerative colitis is under debate, there appears to be a strong connection with hereditary factors. Because ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease, the immune system is the central focus for cause. In all patients with ulcerative colitis the immune system shows abnormalities, which points to the fighting off of foreign or intolerable elements. Symptoms can be mild or become severe, leading to multiple sores, or ulcers on the outermost layer of the inner colon walls. Ulcers occur where the inflammation has destroyed cells and the tissue breaks open, forming sores and pus. Typically it occurs in the left lower portion of the colon, but can affect many or all portions of the colon, and occasionally the lower region of the small intestine, or the terminal ileum. When the colon walls become inflamed, it causes rapid elimination which results in diarrhea.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis Include:
The inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis can also appear in other areas of the body. Those with ulcerative colitis may also suffer with arthritis, liver disease, osteoporosis, anemia, skin rashes, and inflammation of the eye. It is thought by scientists that the compromised immune system is the cause of the inflammation moving beyond the colon into these other areas. In Chinese medicine, the liver is directly related to the gallbladder, eye, and the skin, so that when it is inflamed, many other symptoms will appear.
Diagnosing and Treating Ulcerative Colitis
Because ulcerative colitis is an IBD and its symptoms are similar to other colon illnesses and the other IBD called Crohn’s Disease, specific test are required for accurate diagnosis.
Tests For Ulcerative Colitis Include:
Treatments (not meant to be cures, but approaches that mask the symptoms) include several anti-inflammatory and remission medications and antibiotics which can ultimately lead to severe GI tract problems and headache. Steroids are used, leading to unwanted body hair, weight gain, acne, high blood pressure, mood swings and more. Immunomodulators may also be administered, with the side effects of lowered white blood cell count leading to increased risk of infection; hepatitis, and pancreatitis. If these drugs fail, surgery to remove the colon or portions of the colon is the only “cure” for ulcerative colitis.
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*Please know that I am not a medical doctor or a health practitioner. I cannot diagnose your stomach problems nor can I guarantee a cure. I am here to share my knowledge, which applications have worked for me and to offer suggestions of where you may go physically, emotionally and spiritually for healing and self-empowerment. If you choose to explore alternative medicine, do not independently stop taking your prescribed medications. Always consult with your current doctor as well as your new practitioner when changing your medical program. Find a Naturopath near you.