What is ulcerative colitis (UC)

What is ulcerative colitis (UC)

UC is a long-term, inflammatory condition...

What is ulcerative colitis (UC)?

UC is a long-term, inflammatory condition, where the colon and rectum become inflamed. Small ulcers can develop on the colons lining, and can bleed and produce pus which is very painful. According to NHS, 1 in every 420 people living in the UK has ulcerative colitis; this amounts to around 146,000 people. Men and women being equally affected.

What are the symptoms?

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

These bouts can be cyclic, known as flareups or relapses, and some may go for weeks or months with very mild symptoms, or none at all (known as remission). During a flareup some people have not been able to leave the house for weeks.

What causes it?

An initial viral, bacterial or chemical trigger in the gastrointestinal (gut) invokes an overly aggressive host immune response that is perpetuated by the resident flora (friendly bacteria) long after the initial infection has resolved, and an inflammatory process gives rise to chronic inflammation. The intestinal flora is suspected to play in an important role in ulcerative colitis as the cause of this condition remains poorly understood.

What can I do if I have it?

There are quite a few medicinal drugs on the market that may help, however, most of these have side-effects. Trying the natural route first would be advisable.
Faecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) has been known to reverse UC and change these sufferers lives for ever. This is the process where by a person with disease free, healthy bacteria transplants their faeces into a person who has Ulcerative Colitis or Crohns disease (inflammatory bowel disease). The use of human faecal Flora to treat gastrointestinal (GI) disorders is not a novel concept and has been practised periodically for more than 40 years. The Taymount Clinic is one clinic that prides itself on FMT, situated in Hertfordshire, Tel 01462 712 500. Email patientenquiries@taymount.com. Their initial consultation is £97. Fees for FMT are £3400 which includes five implant treatments over one week and one additional implant to take away with you and use at home.

Healing with nutrition

- Eliminate refined carbs. You need to cut out refined carbohydrates (sugar) in your diet. Sugar causes havoc with the bacterial flora as it is creates abnormally high pH levels in the blood, (too acidic) and feeds yeast-like fungi such as candida which will worsen the problem. The supplement chromium and the herb gymnema will suppress sugar cravings if this is a problem. Also craving sugar could be a magnesium deficiency so regular baths or foot soaks with magnesium flakes (or Epsom salts) for 20-30 mins, three times a week will help this whilst relieving stress.
- Reduce stress. UC can be brought on as well as aggravated by stress. Try to reduce stress by removing the stressor from your life but if this is impossible, practice some remedies to reduce it. These could be meditation, deep breathing, singing, dancing, yoga, tai chi or hypnotherapy. Be careful with over exercising, as you may feel that this relaxes you, it can be a major stressor on the body.
- Keep your diet alkaline. Lots of green juices will reduce the acidity in the gut, controlling the flare ups. Add turmeric to your smoothies and juices which is a great anti-inflammatory. Adding a little pepper will help you to absorb turmeric even more.
- Eat mindfully. Chew your drinks and drink your food. This means that you should hold any juices in the mouth and chew before you swallow so that it gives the digestive juices in your mouth chance to start digesting before it hits the stomach, giving the stomach less work to do. Chewing the food until it is a liquid before you swallow does the same.
- Consider taking a digestive enzyme supplement. By enabling the food to be properly digested by the time it hits the problem areas of ulcers, will not only reduce pain but general inflammation also, reducing the aggravation of the colon.
- Other anti-inflammatories are omega 3 which are found in oily fish and flaxseed. If you are not consuming oily fish 3-4 times a week, you may want to consider a supplement. Choose a good quality one, not from a supermarket or Holland and Bharat, this site is excellent naturaldispensary.co.uk. Be sure to use my code JCH010 for a 10% discount.
- Aloe Vera will help to soothe and reduce inflammation also. Start with 25 ml a day on an empty stomach and gradually build up taking note of the bodies reactions at all times.
- Writing a food diary with symptoms will make you aware of the foods you can safely eat and the foods that cause the flare ups. It is easy to forget the pain you feel but if it is written down, you can refer back to it and it will discourage you to eat that food again.
- Drinking 1.5-2 litres of water a day will keep everything moving along the colon smoothly.
- Identify any allergens. In some cases, ulcerative colitis has been related to allergic reactions to certain foods. Corn, wheat, and milk products seem to be the most common culprits. Elimination of these foods in the beginning of treatment may be required.
- Adding probiotics is essential to repopulate any unhealthy bacteria with friendly bacteria. Buy a multi-strain from a reputable company and ensure you store them as stated on the packet, such as in the refrigerator.
If you are still finding it difficult to live with UC, please do not hesitate to contact me.