Best Natural Treatments For Ulcerative Colitis
Inflammatory bowel diseases can greatly impact day-to-day life. One of these conditions is called ulcerative colitis , which is when a person develops sores in their digestive tract. Around 750,000 North Americans have this disorder and severities can differ from person to person. This can lead to uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and more.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for ulcerative colitis. But there are natural remedies you can try to reduce symptoms and slow its progression. And these remedies mostly involve lifestyle changes that you can start implementing into your daily routine.
Here are some of the best natural remedies for ulcerative colitis patients.
Natural Treatments For Ulcerative Colitis
It can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with intense symptoms and treatments. Nori understands this and can help empower a sense of control over symptoms through diet and lifestyle change. The goal will be to create more time between flare-ups and increase symptom management, to reduce the need for surgery and coincide with medication recommended by a physician.
And Be Proactive About Probiotics
Youve probably heard about probiotics. Theyre the living microorganisms that help keep the healthful bacteria flourishing in your digestive tracthome to the largest part of your immune system. Your favorite yogurt is loaded with probiotics . According to one 2019 study, more than half of those who regularly consumed probiotics saw improvements in their general quality of life and in specific UC symptoms, including more regular bowel movements.
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The Effects Of Stress & Diet
Many people do notice that IBD tends to flare up during times of stress . And certain foods are often triggers as well. Although stress and diet dont cause either condition, they can often exacerbate the symptoms. So managing Crohns and Colitis often requires careful dietary monitoring and lifestyle changes.
Get Regular Exercise To Reduce Inflammation
Snider says exercise is useful in managing many of the complications associated with ulcerative colitis, including decreased bone density, a weakened immune system, emotional health problems, stress, and weight gain.
“Try to engage in a moderate-intensity exercise like swimming or biking, three or four days per week,” he says. One research review notes that moderate exercise releases protective myokines such as irisin from working skeletal muscles, which promotes healing and helps with inflammatory bowel disease inflammation.
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Find Ways To Chill Out
All of the stress-busting suggestions above are extra important when youre in the midst of a flare-up. Cohen also recommends implementing deep breathing exercises before every meal, as this relaxes your body and mind allows you to digest more optimally. And, since youll be eating 4-6 smaller meals, this is a great way to get a dose of calm at multiple points in the day.
Get To The Bottom Of Your Uc
UC is the most common form of IBD, with more than 200,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation. IBD isnt one disease but many, says David Padua, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Los Angeles. There are as many as 30 subtypes, with different causesgenetic, environmental, dietary, or some combination of all three. That means no two cases are exactly alike, he says. Devising a personalized treatment plan that works for you requires time and patience to learn whats at the root of yours.
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Best Natural Cure For Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition characterized by inflammation of the large intestine. As the symptoms develop gradually, with proper precautionary measures ulcerative colitis flare-ups can be prevented. With appropriate natural treatment, the symptoms of thisinflammatory bowel disease can be alleviated.
Natural cure for ulcerative colitis primarily includes dietary changes that help to suppress the inflammation. As stress is commonly associated with worsening of the symptoms of ulcerative colitis and triggering flare-ups, natural stress reducing strategies can provide fast relief from ulcerative colitis. Complementary therapies such as acupuncture can be used for treating ulcerative colitis.
Drawbacks Of Conventional Treatment Approaches
The pharmacological therapies used for UC are associated with one or more side effects, which render them unsuitable for regular use. The conventional therapy is the treatment regimen, which is widely accepted and used by most of the healthcare professionals. The main adverse effects reported after using conventional therapy of UC include fever, nausea, headache, kidney damage, myopathy, myalgia, edema, neoplasia, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, tremor, and hirsutism . Side effects observed on using 5-aminosalicylates include bronchitis, arthralgia, headache, dizziness, abdominal cramps, and minor metabolic disorders . Corticosteroids, though effective for UC when immediate remission is required, are also not free from side effects. The significant adverse effects of corticosteroids include edema, moon face, acne, mood disturbances, adrenal suppression, congenital fetal abnormalities, cushingoid face, gastric ulceration, and osteoporosis. Moreover, their long-term use may cause ocular side effects because of steroid-induced cataract and hyperglycemia, and chances of severe relapse have also been reported . The safety profile of biologicals has also been studied. Their side effects include leukoencephalopathy, hypersensitivity, myalgia, neoplasia, congestive heart failure, tuberculosis, and malaise . The most common side effects of immunosuppressants are hepatitis, pancreatitis, bone marrow toxicity, and leukopenia .
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Warnings About Aloe Vera Consumption
Those with ulcerative colitis should be cautious about consuming aloe vera juice, commonly available in stores. Aloe vera has a laxative effect and may be problematic for those already experiencing diarrhea.
Aloe vera products are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration . Given this, it can be hard to tell if products claiming to contain aloe vera actually do contain aloe vera, or instead contain aloe latex, which has strong laxative properties.
- Curcumin: Curcumin is an active ingredient found in the spice turmeric. It is believed to contain anti-inflammatory properties and, because of this, may be beneficial for those living with ulcerative colitis. A 2020 review examined the results of seven studies involving 380 patients with ulcerative colitis. They found that when curcumin therapy was combined with mesalamine , a medication prescribed in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, that patients were three times more likely to experience a clinical response. The same study found that those on curcumin therapy also experienced minimal side effects.
How Is Ulcerative Colitis Diagnosed
Gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures with biopsy are the only way to diagnose ulcerative colitis definitively. This is a procedure where a small flexible tube camera is used to view the colon and take small tissue samples for analysis. A biopsy is required to make a diagnosis.
Other tests, such as blood and stool tests, help identify the presence of complications such as anemia, infection, or inflammation. Advanced imaging, such as CT or MRI , can be used to identify the presence of inflammation in the bowel or other GI tract complications.
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Look For More Natural Remedies Online
Since ulcerative colitis is a chronic illness, there is no cure. Learning about your condition and your body might help you manage your symptoms naturally without needing surgery or medication.
Start by monitoring your food intake and learning which ingredients can trigger symptoms. Exercise at least three to four times a week, practice mindful activities and try some herbal remedies. By implementing some simple lifestyle changes into your routine, you can take back some control over your condition.
Talk to your doctors about more natural remedies you can do. There are lots of treatments to discover online, and you can also learn which methods have worked for other ulcerative colitis patients. Make sure to try more than one remedy to see what combination can work for you.
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Avoid Foods That May Exacerbate Symptoms
Because a healthy diet is a cornerstone for overall health, its no surprise that it tops Sniders list of natural remedies for ulcerative colitis. Diet is a foundational treatment for patients with ulcerative colitis, he says, adding that there’s often a dietary component to the disease.
According to a review of studies published in May 2019 in the journal Nutrients, a Western diet high in fat, refined sugar, and animal products is associated with an increased risk of UC and worsening colitis symptoms. The CCFA notes that greasy foods, dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, and raw fruits and vegetables may trigger UC symptoms as well. But its important to note that theres no one-size-fits-all diet for UC, so youll have to figure out what works best for you through trial and error.
It helps to keep a food diary to discover which foods are best for you. Snider says it can’t hurt to limit certain foods, and then if your symptoms improve according to your symptom diary, to continue doing so.
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Natural Treatments For Ibd Flares
The first question is are you in an active form of inflammatory bowel disease? IBD patients oscillate between flares of IBD and all the symptoms associated with it and then remission where they wont be experiencing such significant symptoms. Something will trigger the inflammatory response and they will experience a flare of their symptoms. First off we need to know if you are in an active form of inflammatory bowel disease.
If you are the number one priority, the only priority, is bringing you into remission.
Two potent anti-inflammatory herbal medicines that have good clinical evidence and good research supporting their use include turmeric and boswelia. If we arent quite getting the success that we are hoping for with these two herbs than a third herb, wormwood, also has some research supporting its use. We can incorporate it into the formula and really help to bring the patient into remission.
Functional Medicine Labs To Test For Root Cause Of Ulcerative Colitis
Inflammatory markers – such as ESR& CRP, are commonly run during any suspected inflammatory diagnosis. *It’s important to note that these markers may also be normal in asymptomatic patients, especially with isolated involvement of the ileum, so relying on these tests alone is not advised. Other tests commonly run are:
- CBC with differential – to assess the presence or absence of anemia or infection
- The test for anti-Saccharomyces cerevisiae antibodies is used to help distinguish between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis .
- A positive P-ANCA is found in 60-70% of UC patients.
- Carcinoembryonic antigen is a protein typically found in very low levels in the blood of adults. The CEA blood level may be increased in non-cancerous conditions, including ulcerative colitis.
- Comprehensive stool test – to assess the gut microbiome and rule out the presence of bacterial or parasitic infection.
- Fecal calprotectin – elevated levels correlate with increased neutrophils in the intestine and, therefore, can help rule out inflammatory bowel disease.
- Food sensitivity testing – can be considered to help identify food sensitivities that may be perpetuating bowel inflammation.
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How Food Affects Uc
Diet is really important, says Dr. Poppers. Red meat and alcoholic beverages are two variables associated with an increased likelihood of relapse for UC patients, according to a study in Nutrition and Metabolic Insights. While there is no specific UC diet, you can track symptoms in a diary to determine your own food triggers. Dr. Poppers also recommends seeing a nutritionist who can help you learn more about better-tolerated versus less-tolerated IBD foods.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease Overview
First off inflammatory bowel disease is generally made up of either Crohns disease or ulcerative colitis. There are also a few other subtypes of inflammatory bowel disease but these two make up the bulk of inflammatory bowel disease patients.
Common symptoms include
- Mucus and blood in the stool
- Multiple bowel movements each day
- Malnutrition caused by the inflammation in the bowel and the multiple bowel movements
Often times when people present in the clinic they know they have inflammatory bowel disease. Their symptoms are so severe theyve been to the doctor and have had a diagnosis. Many times they are looking for alternative treatment options.
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Herbal Approaches For The Treatment Of Ulcerative Colitis
Herbal products are being used worldwide for their therapeutic potential in various ailments. The phytoconstituents such as catechins, flavonoids, terpenes, alkaloids, anthocyanins, quinines, and anthoxanthins having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, can modulate the expression of pro-inflammatory signals and are considered potential agents for the treatment of UC . All these agents act by multiple mechanisms, including suppression of TNF-, IL-1, cyclooxygenase , lipoxygenase , and nuclear factor B . Various bioactive principles of the plants, including gymnemic acid, shagol, catechin, curcumin, glycyrrhizin, boswellic acid, aloein, arctigenin, and cannabidiol, have been successfully employed to treat UC . The chemical structures of some active constituents responsible for antiulcer activity have been represented in Fig. 1.
Tools To Assess Ibd Patients
As a general work up I like to assess the colonic microbiota of any patient with inflammatory bowel disease.
Many times the results from these DNA based microbiota stool tests show an overabundance of pro-inflammatory bacteria and a . With these results the approach would be to modulate the gut and flip that presentation.
Often times we will see overgrowth of pro-inflammatory bacteria in the proteobacteria phylum. Overgrowths of bacteria from the Enterobacteriaceae family could be a significant driver in many IBD patients.
Bacteria in this family include, among others
A second family of bacteria within the same phylum that isnt often discussed in the context of inflammatory bowel disease is a group of bacteria that produce hydrogen sulfide.
Two common bacterial overgrowths that we might see in inflammatory bowel disease would be Bilophila as well as Desulfovibrio. These two bacteria produce a toxic gas called hydrogen sulfide which has been shown to pull apart the mucous membrane bonds that line the gut. This exposes the cells that line the gut to the resident microbiota and results in a pro inflammatory response and an overstimulated immune system, hallmarks of inflammatory bowel disease.
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Deal With Iron Deficiencies Too
UCs painful, even gut-wrenching symptoms dont always make it fun to eat. And, people with this chronic condition may lose blood in their stool, as well as absorb dietary iron poorly due to inflammation, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, foods rich in iron, like red meat, often trigger flareups. Together, this can cause anemia, a condition characterized by a low red blood cell count. Its a common issue with the UC communityand must be controlled to battle fatigue. If you have UC and super-low energy, talk to your doctor about iron supplements.
Michelle Simon Phd Nd
President & CEO
As president and CEO of INM, Dr. Simon brings her passion for working with organizations dedicated to improving the quality and delivery of healthcare. This desire stems from her years of practice as a licensed naturopathic physician. In addition to holding a Naturopathic Doctorate from Bastyr University she also holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She has served on boards for the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians , the Naturopathic Physicians Research Institute , and several advisory boards. Dr. Simon served nine years on the Washington State Health Technology Clinical Committee, as Ambassador to the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine and was recognized as 2018 AANP Physician of the Year. Dr. Simon shares with her husband a passion for adventure travel, preferably by boat or motorcycle. She also enjoys teaching a womens off-road motorcycling class.
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The Differences Between Crohns And Colitis
Although they share many symptoms, its important to note that theyre not exactly the same. The main differences between Crohns and Colitis are:
- With ulcerative colitis, only the large intestine is affected. Crohns disease can occur anywhere in the digestive system.
- In Crohns disease, healthy tissue can be intermixed with inflamed tissue. In contrast, ulcerative colitis affects an entire area.
- The inflammation of colitis affects only the inner lining of the intestines, whereas it can affect deeper layers with Crohns disease.
In real-life terms, bloody diarrhea and rectal bleeding are more common with colitis. And the pain of Crohns is often a sharper, more intense pain than the cramping that typically characterizes colitis.
Bear in mind that these are just generalized differences and a medical practitioner is the best person to diagnose any form of inflammatory bowel disease.
Treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease Naturally
Inflammatory bowel disease, most commonly manifesting as ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease, affects approximately 1 million Australians. It is one of over a hundred autoimmune Illnesses, in which the bodys defense forces mistakenly attacks the bodyin this case the small or large intestines.
Although standard medical therapies consist largely of steroids , immune suppressants and modifiers , salicylates and sometimes surgery to treat complications, the good news is that natural therapies can be very effective to both treat the cause of the inflammation and the inflammation itself.
Symptoms include persistent diarrhea, crampy abdominal pain, fever, and intermittent rectal bleeding. It is the latter two symptoms that distinguish inflammatory bowel disease from the more common spastic colon and irritable bowel syndrome.
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Stay Abreast Of New Treatment Options
Although much work still remains to be done, its a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider about recent medical research. IBD is an area where promising discoveries and potential new treatments are emerging often. For example, trials have been conducted on the effectiveness of fecal transplants, in which healthy stool is transplanted into an inflamed large intestine in hopes of restoring the balance of healthy bacteria. Other exciting paper writing findings involve stem cell research.
If you have been diagnosed with or are experiencing the symptoms of Crohns or Colitis, you should know that there is reason for hope. Many natural supportive treatments prove quite effective, and new developments are on the horizon. Come into the office and we can work together to improve your digestive health!