Ulcerative Colitis is well-managed using naturopathic medicine.
Ulcerative colitis is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, specifically segments of the large intestine. If the entire colon is affected, complications may be life threatening.
The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, but genetic mutation, viral or bacterial infection and autoimmune reaction are considered possibilities.
Ulcerative colitis can severely impair quality of life, and may lead to complications including severe dehydration; perforation of the colon; liver disease and skin, joint and eye inflammation; and increased risk of colon cancer.
Seek professional healthcare if you experience a persistent change in your bowel habits, ongoing bouts of diarrhea that do not respond to over-the-counter medications or notice blood in your stool.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis vary depending on the severity of inflammation and which segment of the large intestine is affected. Possible symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Rectal pain and bleeding
- Profuse diarrhea, possibly with blood
- Difficulty having bowel movements in spite of urge
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis at Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, the goals of ulcerative colitis treatment are to reduce symptom intensity and frequency; identify and eliminate food triggers of ulcerative colitis episodes; soothe and heal tissue of the large intestine; address dehydration and malnutrition caused by fluid losses and poor nutrient absorption; manage side effects of conventional medications; and if possible, prevent recurrence of “flare-ups”.
Conventional treatment for ulcerative colitis may include surgery, and a variety of medications, including anti-inflammatory medications, immune system suppressors, nicotine patches, anti-diarrheal medications, laxatives and pain relievers. These treatments may have short- or long-term side effects.
For this reason, you may choose to try natural treatment to possibly avoid use of conventional medications, or together with conventional medications in order to decrease dosages of conventional medications required to manage your ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Naturopathic treatment of any chronic health concern must be recognized as a process that involves:
- Identifying specific treatment goals
- Development by your naturopathic doctor, of a thorough understanding of all factors affecting your health, including physical, psychological, emotional and lifestyle factors
- Development of a comprehensive treatment plan
- Implementation and maintenance of that plan through periodic monitoring and adjustment
At Toronto Centre for Naturopathic Medicine, a typical approach to treating ulcerative colitis may be to:
- Identify and address underlying factors in your lifestyle (e.g., poor stress management) that may be contributing to your ulcerative colitis symptoms
- Identify and manage exposure to trigger foods using a supervised food elimination and challenge protocol or laboratory testing
- Reduce pain of episodes using acupuncture or homeopathic medicines
- Protect, soothe and heal the stomach lining using botanical (herbal) medicines and nutritional supplements
- Ensure optimal nutritional status using nutritional counseling and nutritional supplements
- Reduce recurrence of “flare-ups” by increasing levels of “good” bacteria using nutritional supplements; and “balancing” immune system activity using “good” bacteria and botanical (herbal) medicines
Where appropriate, a number of therapeutic options are available, to be used alone, or more often in a complementary fashion, including:
- Nutritional counseling
- Nutritional supplements
- Metabolic detoxification protocols
- Botanical (herbal) medicines
- Bowen Therapy
- Exercise prescription
- Relaxation (meditation) training
- Lifestyle medicine and counseling
- Registered massage therapy
Treatments provided by naturopathic doctors and registered massage therapists are covered by most extended healthcare plans.
Ulcerative colitis [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; [cited 2010 Jan 25]. Available from: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ulcerative-colitis/DS00598.