Ulcerative Colitis


What is Ulcerative Colitis?


Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining of the colon becomes inflamed and develops tiny open sores, or ulcers, that produce pus and mucous. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.

Ulcerative colitis is the result of an abnormal response by your body's immune system. Normally, the cells and proteins that make up the immune system protect you from infection. In people with IBD, however, the immune system mistakes food, bacteria, and other materials in the intestine for foreign or invading substances.

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When this happens, the body sends white blood cells into the lining of the intestines, where they produce chronic inflammation and ulcerations.

It’s important to understand the difference between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the Gastrointestinal (GI) Tract, but ulcerative colitis affects only the colon. Additionally, while Crohn’s disease can affect all layers of the bowel wall, ulcerative colitis only affects the lining of the colon.

While both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are types of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD), they should not be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the colon. IBS is not characterized by intestinal inflammation.

This short video should provide some further information:

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?


About half of all patients with ulcerative colitis experience mild symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

•bowel movements become looser and more urgent

•persistent diarrhea accompanied by abdominal pain and blood in the stool

•stool is generally bloody

•crampy abdominal pain

People suffering from ulcerative colitis often experience loss of appetite and may lose weight as a result. A feeling of low energy and fatigue is also common. Among younger children, ulcerative colitis may delay growth and development.

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis do tend to come and go, with fairly long periods in between flare-ups in which patients may experience no distress at all. These periods of remission can span months or even years, although symptoms do eventually return. The unpredictable course of ulcerative colitis may make it difficult for physicians to evaluate whether a particular course of treatment has been effective or not.

What are the Causes of Ulcerative Colitis?


Although considerable progress has been made in IBD research, investigators do not yet know what causes this disease. Studies indicate that the inflammation in IBD involves a complex interaction of factors: the genes the person has inherited, the immune system, and something in the environment. Foreign substances (antigens) in the environment may be the direct cause of the inflammation, or they may stimulate the body's defenses to produce an inflammation that continues without control. Researchers believe that once the IBD patient's immune system is "turned on," it does not know how to properly "turn off" at the right time. As a result, inflammation damages the intestine and causes the symptoms of IBD. That is why the main goal of medical therapy is to help patients regulate their immune system better.

Research sponsored by CCFA has led many scientists to believe that ulcerative colitis may be the result of an interaction of a virus or bacterial infection of the colon and your body’s natural immune system response. Normally, your immune system will cause temporary inflammation to combat an illness or infection, and then the inflammation will be reduced as you regain health. In people with ulcerative colitis, however, this inflammation can persist long after your immune system should have finished its job.

Ulcerative colitis may affect as many as 700,000 Americans. Men and Women are equally likely to be affected, and most people are diagnosed in their mid-30s. The disease can occur at any age and older men are more likely to be diagnosed than older women.

While ulcerative colitis tends to run in families, researchers have been unable to establish a clear pattern of inheritance. Studies show that up to 20 percent of people with ulcerative colitis will also have a close relative with the disease. The disease is more common among white people of European origin and among people of Jewish heritage.

Yet still the pharmaceutical industry, in late 2012, made the concerning ‘prediction’ that the Ulcerative Colitis drug market will double over the next decade:

Decision Resources, one of the world’s leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and healthcare issues, finds that the ulcerative colitis drug market will double over the next decade, increasing to $3.7 billion in 2021 in the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. The uptake of two premium-priced tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) inhibitors—Abbott/Eisai’s Humira and Janssen/Merck/Mitsubishi Tanabe’s Simponi—and two novel therapies, Takeda’s cell adhesion molecule (CAM) inhibitor vedolizumab and Pfizer’s oral Janus-activated kinase inhibitor tofacitinib, will primarily drive growth during this period, as will the expanding number of diagnosed prevalent cases of ulcerative colitis.

Ulcerative Colitis (like Chrohn’s disease) is often viewed as a disease of wealth (1), and it has been suggested that higher incidence rates among those of higher socioeconomic status, as highlighted above, may be due to a delayed and/or low level of exposure to common infectious agents during childhood because of improved domestic hygiene, resulting in persistent infection or altered immune responses in genetically susceptible hosts. It seems strange (to me) to suggest that an increase in hygiene contributes as a root cause to a degenerative bowel disorder, but there you go! There are suggestions that it is an inappropriate and excessively ‘rich’ diet that causes the disease. Whilst this is a speculative viewpoint, my experience does indicate that there may be a relationship between the quantity and quality of processed foods being consumed by sufferers and the problem from which they suffer. Remember that the purpose of the bowel is to extract nutrients from foodstuffs, and it is arguably ‘harder work’ for the bowel to find and extract nutrients in most western, processed food diets. Interestingly, this study (2) seems to support my ‘theory’, and proved that a nutrient rich diet resulted in 100% remission in Yr1 and 92% remission in Yr2. These are convincing medium term results.

(1)    ANNALS OF GASTROENTEROLOGY 2009, 22(3):158-167

(2)     World J Gastroenterol. May 28, 2010; 16(20): 2484–2495.

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Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis


One study reviewed homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicines, and acupuncture for efficacy in treating colitis symptoms. The researchers found that 47 percent of ulcerative colitis patients reported using CAM therapies for their colitis symptoms. Of that group, two thirds noted benefits from complementary and alternative treatments, while 10 percent reported a symptom relapse.

This study supports the findings of the University of California, which showed that approximately 50% of the American population prefer to turn to Complementary and Alternative Medicine as a source of treatment, and it is clear that the majority of respondents of the study benefited from the CAM treatments.

My experiences of treating Ulcerative Colitis have highlighted the effectiveness of Vibrational Medicine. As you will see from the following testimonials … [LINK] … and … [LINK] … this particular therapy has worked fantastically well for my clients. My clients have also enjoyed the relaxation, and pain relief, that comes from combined Aromatherapy Massage and Reiki Healing.


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