Defeat Ulcerative Colitis (UC) By Trying Out These DIY Methods

Ulcerative colitis (UC) causes irritation and ulcers (open sores) in the large intestine.


It belongs to a group of conditions called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It often causes diarrhoea with blood, cramping and urgency. Sometimes these symptoms can wake a person up at night to go to the bathroom as well. Doctors aren’t sure why people get the condition.

Your genes may play a role; the disease sometimes runs in families. Other things in the world around you may make a difference, too.


Ulcerative colitis happens when your immune system makes a mistake. Normally, it attacks invaders in your body, like the common cold. But when you have UC, your immune system thinks food, good gut bacteria, and the cells that line your colon are the intruders. White blood cells that usually protect you attack the lining of your colon instead. They cause inflammation and ulcers.


Read more to learn the causes, symptoms and treatment of ulcerative colitis.


Causes of Ulcerative Colitis (UC)


The exact cause of ulcerative colitis remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate but don’t cause ulcerative colitis.


One possible cause is an immune system malfunction. When your immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too.


Heredity also seems to play a role in that ulcerative colitis is more common in people who have family members with the disease. However, most people with ulcerative colitis don’t have this family history.


Things that can affect your risk of getting ulcerative colitis include:


Age - It’s most likely if you’re between 15 and 30 years old or older than 60.

Ethnicity - The risk is highest in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Family history - Your risk could be up to 30% higher if you have a close relative with the condition.



Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis


The main symptoms of ulcerative colitis are:

  • Recurring diarrhoea, which may contain blood, mucus or pus
  • Tummy pain
  • Needing to empty your bowels frequently


You may also experience extreme tiredness (fatigue), loss of appetite and weight loss.

The severity of the symptoms varies, depending on how much of the rectum and colon are inflamed and how severe the inflammation is.

For some people, the condition has a significant impact on their everyday lives. Some people may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, or none at all (remission), followed by periods where the symptoms are particularly troublesome (flare-ups or relapses).


During a flare-up, some people with ulcerative colitis also experience symptoms elsewhere in their bodies.

For example, some people develop:


  • Painful and swollen joints (arthritis)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Areas of painful, red and swollen skin
  • Irritated and red eyes


In severe cases, defined as having to empty your bowels 6 or more times a day, additional symptoms may include:


  • Shortness of breath
  • A fast or irregular heartbeat
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Blood in your stools becoming more obvious



Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis


UC treatment has two main goals. The first is to make you feel better and give your colon a chance to heal. The second is to prevent more flare-ups. You may need a combination of diet changes, medication, or surgery to reach those goals.


Diet 

Some foods can make your symptoms worse. You might find that soft, bland food doesn’t bother you as much as spicy or high-fibre dishes. If you can’t digest the sugar in milk called lactose (meaning you’re lactose intolerant), your doctor may tell you to stop eating dairy products. 


A balanced diet with plenty of fiber, lean protein, fruits, and veggies should provide enough vitamins and nutrients.


Medicine

Your doctor may prescribe a few different kinds of drugs, including:


  • Antibiotics. These fight infections and let your large intestine heal.
  • Aminosalicylates. These drugs have something called 5-aminosalicylic acid (5-ASA) that fights inflammation and helps control symptoms. You might get pills to swallow or an enema or suppository to put in your bottom.
  • Corticosteroids. If aminosalicylates don’t work or your symptoms are severe, your doctor might give you these anti-inflammatory drugs for a short time.
  • Immunomodulators. These help stop your immune system’s attack on your colon. They can take a while to take effect. You might not notice any changes for up to 3 months.
  • Biologics. These are made from proteins in living cells instead of chemicals. They’re for people with severe ulcerative colitis.
  • Janus kinase inhibitors (JAK inhibitors). These are oral medicines that can work quickly to get and maintain remission in ulcerative colitis.
  • Sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulators. This is an oral medication for patients with moderately to severely active UC.
  • Loperamide. This can slow or stop diarrhoea. Talk to your doctor before taking it.



When you have ulcerative colitis, it’s essential to work closely with your healthcare team.


Take your medications as prescribed, even when you don’t have symptoms. Skipping medications you’re supposed to take can lead to flareups and make the disease harder to control. Your best shot at managing ulcerative colitis is to follow your treatment plan and talk to your healthcare provider regularly.

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Adam H.

Automotive enthusiast and tech nerd. Loves to spend his free time traveling abroad besides working on his startup.

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