What Is Colon Cancer
Cancer is the transformation of normal cells. These transformed cells grow and multiply abnormally. Cancers are dangerous because of their uncontrolled growth and potential for spread. Cancer overwhelms healthy cells, tissues, and organs by taking their oxygen, nutrients, and space.
In colon cancer, these abnormal cells grow and eventually spread through the colon wall to involve the adjacent lymph nodes and organs. Ultimately, they spread to distant organs such as the liver, lungs, brain, and bones.
Most colon cancers are adenocarcinoma tumors that develop from the glands lining the colon’s inner wall. These cancers, or malignant tumors, sometimes are referred to as colorectal cancer, reflecting the fact that the rectum, the end portion of the colon, also can be affected. Anatomic differences in the rectum as compared to the rest of the colon require that doctors separately recognize these areas.
Home Remedies For Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease that impacts the lining of the large intestine, also known as the colon. It can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools.
The symptoms of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the other IBD, are similar but there are many differences between the two diseases. One key difference is ulcerative colitis affects just the colon, while Crohn’s disease can cause inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract, which stretches from the mouth to the anus.
There is no cure for ulcerative colitis, but there are a number of treatments available. Treatment options may include medications, surgery, and changes to diet and nutrition. Some people may find natural treatments like eating foods containing omega-3 fatty acids or practicing yoga beneficial for the management of their symptoms.
Complementary and alternative medicines will not cure ulcerative colitis, and they should not replace conventional therapies.
In this article, we’ll discuss seven different home remedies that have been shown to help with symptoms of UC.
Brooke Pelczynski / Verywell
Roughly half of people with ulcerative colitis report experiencing mild symptoms. Possible symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
What Role Does Diet And Nutrition Play In Ulcerative Colitis
Diet does not cause the development of ulcerative colitis nor can any special diet cure the disease. However, the foods you or your child eat may play a role in managing symptoms and lengthening the time between flareups.
Some foods may make symptoms worse and should be avoided, especially during flareups. Foods that trigger symptoms are different from person to person. To narrow down what foods affect you, keep track of what you eat each day and how you feel afterward .
Problem foods often include:
- High sugar foods and drinks.
- Carbonated beverages.
- High-fiber foods.
In addition to the problem foods listed above, infants, children and teenagers can also experience issues with:
- Dairy products.
Keep a careful eye on your childs diet and nutrition. Their appetite may decrease during a flareup and they might not eat enough to stay healthy, and grow. Also, the inflammation caused by ulcerative colitis may keep their digestive tract from absorbing enough nutrients. This can also affect your childs health. For these reasons, you may have to increase the amount of calories your child consumes.
Its best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan if you or your child has ulcerative colitis.
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Medications For Ulcerative Colitis
No medicine can cure UC. The goal of medication is to make a patients ulcerative colitis manageable. People with UC may have to take medicines indefinitely to control their condition.
Medications for treating ulcerative colitis:
- These medications may be used in people with mild or moderate symptoms and most people can tolerate them. They contain an active ingredient called 5-aminosalisylic acid, or 5-ASA, which helps control inflammation. Drugs in this class include balsalazide, mesalamine, olsalazine and sulfasalazine.
- More commonly known simply as steroids, these medicines reduce the immune systems response. They are used if aminosalicylates dont seem to work. Drugs in this class include prednisone, methylprednisone, hydrocortisone and budesonide. These drugs shouldnt be used long-term.
- These drugs reduce immune system activity as well, but may take as long as three months to work. Immunomodulators include Azasan or Imuran and Purinethol or Purixan .
- Biologics or TNF therapy
- This group includes Humira , Simponi and Remicade , medications that decrease inflammation by targeting a protein made by the immune system called tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. Side effects of these medications include higher risks for tuberculosis, fungal infections, skin cancer and psoriasis.
Doctors may also recommend antibiotics to prevent infection and other medications to treat diarrhea.
What Is The Best Diet For Ulcerative Colitis
Theres no single diet that works best for ulcerative colitis. If the disease damages the lining of the colon, your body might not absorb enough nutrients from food. Your healthcare provider may recommend supplemental nutrition or vitamins. Its best to work with your provider and nutritionist to come up with a personalized diet plan.
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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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis symptoms often get worse over time. In the beginning, you may notice:
- Diarrhea or urgent bowel movements.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Liver disease.
- Loss of fluids and nutrients.
Symptoms are similar in pediatric ulcerative colitis and may also include delayed or poor growth. Some ulcerative colitis symptoms in children can mimic other conditions, so it is important to report all symptoms to your pediatrician.
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The Main Types Of Drugs
The aim of drug treatment for Ulcerative Colitis is to reduce inflammation. The main types of drugs are:
Aminosalicylates reduce inflammation in the lining of the intestine. Examples include mesalazine , olsalazine , sulphasalazine and balsalazide .
Corticosteroids work by blocking the substances that trigger allergic and inflammatory responses in your body. They include prednisolone, prednisone, methylprednisolone, budesonide , hydrocortisone and beclometasone dipropionate .
Immunosuppressants suppress the immune system, and reduce levels of inflammation. The main immunosuppressants used in IBD are azathioprine , mercaptopurine or 6MP , methotrexate, ciclosporin and tacrolimus. They are often used in patients who relapse when they come off steroids.
Biological drugs are the newest group of drugs used to treat IBD. Anti-TNF drugs, such as infliximab , adalimumab and golimumab target a protein in the body called TNF, or tumor necrosis factor, preventing inflammation. Another type of biological drug is vedolizumab , which works by stopping white blood cells from entering the lining of the gut and causing inflammation.
You can find more information about some of the drugs used for Colitis: Adalimumab, Aminosalicylates , Azathioprine and Mercaptopurine, Biologic Drugs, Golimumab, Methotrexate, Infliximab, Steroids, Ustekinumab and Vedolizumab.
About a quarter of people diagnosed with Crohn’s or Colitis are children or adolescents at the time they are diagnosed.
Complications Caused By Nutritional Deficiencies
Some of the complications of malnutrition include:
- Dehydration diarrhoea causes your body to lose fluid, which can lead to dehydration. Severe dehydration can damage your kidneys.
- Anaemia reduced iron in the diet combined with losing blood from the bowel can lead to anaemia .
- Weight loss reduced appetite and poor absorption of food nutrients can cause weight loss.
- Reduced growth inadequate nutrition during childhood and adolescence can impair a childs growth and physical development.
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What Causes Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis is thought to be an autoimmune condition.
This means the immune system, the body’s defence against infection, goes wrong and attacks healthy tissue.
The most popular theory is that the immune system mistakes harmless bacteria inside the colon for a threat and attacks the tissues of the colon, causing it to become inflamed.
Exactly what causes the immune system to behave in this way is unclear.
Most experts think it’s a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Your Uc Flare Management Plan
Your doctor may help you deal with a flare by changing your medications or offering new ones. Treatment of flares can include mesalamine products and usually a steroid, such as prednisone,” says Desi.
There are also some things you can do at home to temper a flare. These include:
During an ulcerative colitis flare, its recommended that you schedule regular visits to see your doctor, at least once every three months until the symptoms go away. After the flare has subsided, physicians recommend one or two checkups a year to manage the disease.
When an ulcerative colitis flare strikes, you have options for getting your life back on track. Its important to learn what you can about maintaining your health and work with your doctor to find the best ways to safely control UC. And remember to always let your doctor know when new or persistent symptoms arise.
Who Gets Ulcerative Colitis
Anyone at any age, including young children, can get ulcerative colitis. Your chance of getting it is slightly higher if you:
- Have a close relative with inflammatory bowel disease .
- Are between 15 and 30 years old, or older than 60.
- Are Jewish.
- Use frequent nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen .
Daily Life For People With Ibd
People with IBD lead useful and productive lives, even though they need to take medications. When they are not experiencing a flare-up of their disease, they feel quite well and are often free of symptoms.People with IBD can marry, enjoy sexual activity and have children. They can hold down jobs, care for families and enjoy sport and recreational activities.Even though there is currently no cure for IBD, medical therapy has improved the health and quality of life of most people with Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis. Research underway today may lead to further improvements in medical and surgical treatment, and even a cure.
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Can Constipation Be A Symptom Of Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis mainly manifests with diarrhea containing blood or pus. However, some people may experience constipation, especially when the condition only affects the last section of the large intestine. Inflammation of the intestinal mucosa in ulcerative colitis can, in rare cases, lead to narrowing of the large intestine . This constriction can also cause constipation. Stenosis is much more common in Crohn’s disease and is not a typical symptom of ulcerative colitis.
Diarrhea And Rectal Bleeding
People with ulcerative colitis often experience watery diarrhea as well as frequent and sudden urges to have a bowel movement. For some people, the urge to have a bowel movement may occur so suddenly that it significantly disrupts their daily life. Some people need to have a bowel movement more than 10 times per day.
You may notice blood, pus, or mucus in your stools. You may also experience rectal bleeding if youre having a flare-up. Blood comes from ulcers along the surface of your rectum.
If you have uncontrollable diarrhea or notice blood in your stool, you should see a doctor. Diarrhea caused by ulcerative colitis can lead to medical emergencies like severe dehydration, a perforated colon, or .
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How Does Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis Affect My Childs Mental/emotional Health
Like many conditions, ulcerative colitis can have a negative psychological effect, especially on children. They can experience physical, emotional, social and family problems. Because of the medications and/or general stress from the situation, your child may experience:
- Mood swings.
- Worry about appearance and physical stamina.
- Vulnerability because their body doesnt function normally.
- Poor concentration.
- Misunderstandings with friends and family.
Children need mutual support from all family members. Its helpful for the entire family to learn about the disease and try to be empathetic. Seek out a psychiatrist and therapist to help your child manage such challenges of their ulcerative colitis.
Colon Cancer And Other Ulcerative Colitis Complications
The most serious complication of ulcerative colitis can be colon cancer. This is more likely to occur in people who have had UC for eight or more years and in people who have inflammation through the whole colon.
People with UC should talk with their health care provider about scheduling recurring cancer screenings. People with ulcerative colitis may need colonoscopies every one to three years if they have UC in more than a third of their colon or have had the condition for eight years or more.
Another life-threatening but rare complication is toxic megacolon. It involves the widening of the colon and an overwhelming bacterial infection resulting in sepsis. Sepsis is the bodys extreme reaction to an infection. It can lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other complications of ulcerative colitis:
- Rectal bleeding leading to anemia
- Dehydration and malabsorption if the colon is unable to absorb fluids and nutrients
- Bone changes such as osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Inflammation to other parts of the body such as the joints, eyes, skin or liver
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Pain Caused By Ulcerative Colitis
About half of patients with ulcerative colitis report having painful abdominal cramps.4,8 Inflammation has a role in abdominal pain. Inflammatory signaling chemicals seem to make the nerves in the gut more excitable.8 This means the nerves send more signals to the brain, which may explain some of the pain.
However, between 10% and 33% of people with ulcerative colitis have pain during remission.8 Researchers are trying to understand what causes pain when the inflammation is under control.
Could My Symptoms Be Ibs
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a different condition from IBD, although some of the symptoms are similar. Like Crohn’s and Colitis, IBS can cause abdominal pain, bloating and bouts of diarrhoea or constipation. However, it does not cause the type of inflammation typical of Colitis, and there is no blood loss with IBS.
Some people with Colitis may develop IBS-like symptoms, for example experiencing diarrhoea even when their Colitis is inactive. These symptoms may need slightly different treatment from their usual IBD symptoms. IBS is more common in people with IBD than in the general population.
If you develop diarrhoea with bleeding and abdominal pain, your doctor may suspect you have Colitis, particularly if you are a young adult or have a family history of Crohn’s or Colitis. You will need tests and physical examinations to confirm a diagnosis. See Tests and Investigations for IBD.
You may need to have tests repeated from time to time to check on your condition and how your treatment is working.
Some drug treatments may also require a series of blood tests and, occasionally, x-rays or scans to check for any potential side effects. Your specialist will avoid giving you any unnecessary tests or investigations.
You may need more regular colonoscopies when you have had Ulcerative Colitis for a long time to check for any signs of cancer.
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How Do I Know If My Uc Has Gone Into Remission
UC doesn’t have a cure. Instead, the goal of any treatment plan is to send the disease into remission.
When UC is in remission, you don’t experience as many symptoms and start to feel better. If your UC medications and lifestyle changes work well for you, remission may last for months or even years. There are several different kinds of remission:
- Clinical remission: When a patient isn’t experiencing symptoms and may feel better.
- Endoscopic remission: Testing of the intestinal lining shows no inflammation
- Biochemical remission: Blood and stool tests show no sign of inflammation
- Surgical remission: When UC goes into remission after surgery to treat it
- Histologic remission: When both clinical and endoscopic tests didn’t show signs of UC
With UC, it can feel like life revolves around symptoms. If UC symptoms keep coming back, it can be a sign that medications aren’t working. Consider taking part in a clinical trial researching an investigational treatment option for people living with UC.
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis Flareups
When youre in remission from ulcerative colitis, youll want to do everything you can to prevent a flareup. Things that may cause a flareup include:
- Emotional stress: Get at least seven hours of sleep a night, exercise regularly and find healthy ways to relieve stress, such as meditation.
- NSAID use: For pain relief or a fever, use acetaminophen instead of NSAIDs like Motrin® and Advil®.
- Antibiotics: Let your healthcare provider know if antibiotics trigger your symptoms.