Living with ulcerative colitis is difficult. You never know when and where a flareup will strike, and how severe it will be. There are an estimated 900,000 people in the United States living with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by unpleasant and painful symptoms which come and go over time.
Ulcerative colitis can be debilitating and ultimately have fatal consequences if it is not successfully treated. At Angel Longevity, we’re here to help you understand and manage your condition, and help you have a better quality of life.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory condition of the colon, or large intestine, which causes ulcers to form in the lining. While there is no known cure, treatment can make the condition manageable and allow you to live symptom-free for long periods of time. Ulcerative colitis is an abnormal response of your body’s immune system.
When you have IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), you can develop sores or ulcers in the innermost lining of the large intestine which produce pus or mucous. Between the inflammation and irritation, this can lead to abdominal discomfort and the frequent need to empty your colon.
What are the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?
The condition causes your body’s immune system to mistake food, bacteria, or other nutrients for a foreign substance against which your body needs protection. As part of this response, it sends white blood cells into the colon to attack these perceived invaders, producing inflammation and ulcers in the process. Those who suffer with ulcerative colitis often experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea often accompanied by blood or mucous
- Abdominal cramping
- A sudden urge to “go” right away
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Eye pain
- Rectal bleeding
What Causes ulcerative colitis?
While there has been extensive research to identify the causes of ulcerative colitis, the answer as to why the condition develops remains largely unknown. Development of ulcerative colitis seems to be a combination of your genetic makeup, your unique immune system, and external environmental factors. It seems that at the onset of ulcerative colitis, an antigen, or unknown substance to your immune system, turns on a reaction in your immune system, which produces an inflammatory response. Once this response has been triggered, it is believed that the condition develops when the body’s immune system cannot turn the response off.
Can Ulcerative Colitis be Cured?
As there is currently no known cure for ulcerative colitis, once you have had a flareup there is a possibility that you may be dealing with the problem throughout your lifetime. It is an autoimmune disease that follows what is known as a relapsing-remitting course, with periods of flareups followed by periods of remission. In the most severe cases, surgery may be performed in order to remove the portion of the colon which has been most damaged.
How is Ulcerative Colitis Treated?
The first step in treating ulcerative colitis is treat the symptoms, discover what foods or environmental factors may be making the condition worse, and avoid these factors in the future. While food does not cause ulcerative colitis, in many cases, certain foods trigger the body’s immune response which result in UC inflammation.
Exercise, yoga and meditation, reducing stress, and a diet comprised of whole, nutrient-rich foods and soluble fiber can aid in reducing the inflammation and ushering in a period of remission. Other forms of treatment include anti-inflammatory medication, steroids, and surgery.
How Long is the Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis?
Once you have developed ulcerative colitis, it is a condition which will need to be managed for the rest of your life. Through the process of learning your body’s individual triggers, you and your physician can create a treatment plan that could help you achieve and hopefully, maintain remission. Identifying allergens, toxins, and lifestyle factors which lead to flareups, our physician will help you to understand the disease, your body’s response, and take control of your health in a wholistic way.
At Angel Longevity, we believe in a whole-body approach, rather than just addressing the symptoms, and are committed to assisting our patients to live a better quality of life. We will evaluate your health overall and determine the best course of treatment to help you achieve long-term relief.
Why Should I Choose Angel Longevity for Treatment of ulcerative colitis?
We are committed to your overall health and wellbeing through a combination of traditional western medicine, holistic approaches, and alternative therapies. Our physicians are deeply interested in your total health and finding the underlying causes of any medical issues you may have. We know that your body functions as one cohesive organism.
Health conditions affect all body systems, and if you are living with ulcerative colitis, a consultation with us at Angel Longevity can set you down the path to restoring a happier, healthier, more productive life.
Ulcerative Colitis — Frequently Asked Questions
What Foods Trigger Ulcerative Colitis?
Every person has a unique physiology. A flareup of ulcerative colitis can be triggered by a unique set of foods, but some of the most common foods to avoid include:
- Spicy foods
- Dairy products
- Beans and legumes
- Foods which contain sulfur such as fish, eggs, meat, nuts, cheese, and fruits like peaches or apricots
- High fiber foods
- Carbonated drinks
- Fresh or dried fruits
- Fibrous vegetables
Does Aloe Vera Help with Ulcerative Colitis?
Yes. Just as aloe vera can help soothe your skin after a rash or a burn, drinking aloe vera juice has been found to be effective in easing inflammation in the digestive tract.
Is Yogurt Good for Ulcerative Colitis?
Yogurt can be helpful, unless you are lactose intolerant. Yogurt and other fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and miso contain probiotics can aid in digestion.
What Foods Heal Ulcerative Colitis?
Foods which are rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed, yogurt and fermented foods, summer squash, eggs, avocados, almonds and applesauce can be effective in helping your body heal after a flareup. Each person is different, and adding nuts should be approached cautiously, and nuts should not be eaten when you are experiencing a flareup.
What Should I Eat During a Colitis Flare Up?
Knowing and avoiding your trigger foods is key to keeping ulcerative colitis flareups at bay. During times that you’re experiencing problems, you should eat a diet rich in foods which soothe the digestive tract including yogurt, oily fish such as salmon, cooked carrots, other low fiber vegetables, cereals, liquid meals and potatoes. Work with our team at Angel Longevity for a custom diet that matches your individual body’s response to various foods.
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