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Ulcerative Colitis

Bhagwati Ayurveda & Panchkarma / Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a long term condition that results in inflammation and ulcers of the colon and rectum. The primary symptom of active disease is abdominal pain and diarrhea mixed with blood. Weight loss, fever, and anemia may also occur. Often symptoms come on slowly and can range from mild to severe. Symptoms typically occur intermittently with periods of no symptoms between flares. Complications may include megacolon, inflammation of the eye, joints, or liver, and colon cancer.

Dietary changes, such as maintaining a high-calorie diet or lactose-free diet, may improve symptoms. Several medications are used to treat symptoms and bring about and maintain remission, including aminosalicylates such as mesalazine or sulfasalazine, steroids, immunosuppressants such as azathioprine, and biological therapy. Removal of the colon by surgery may be necessary if the disease is severe, does not respond to treatment, or if complications such as colon cancer develop. Removal of the colon and rectum can cure the disease.

Symptoms

The clinical presentation of ulcerative colitis depends on the extent of the disease process. Patients usually present with diarrhea mixed with blood and mucus, of gradual onset that persists for an extended period (weeks). They may also have weight loss and blood on rectal examination. The inflammation caused by the disease along with the chronic bleeding from the GI tract leads to increased rates of anemia. The disease may be accompanied by different degrees of abdominal pain, from mild discomfort to painful bowel movements or painful abdominal cramping with bowel movements.

Ulcerative colitis is associated with a general inflammatory process that can affect many parts of the body. Sometimes these associated extra-intestinal symptoms are the initial signs of the disease, such as painful arthritic knees in teenagers, which also may be seen in adults. A diagnosis of ulcerative colitis may not occur until the onset of intestinal manifestations

Ulcerative-Colitis symptoms

Causes

Genetic factors
A genetic component to the etiology of ulcerative colitis can be hypothesized based on the following:

  • Aggregation of ulcerative colitis in families.
  • Identical twin concordance rate of 10% and dizygotic twin concordance rate of 3%[17]
  • Ethnic differences in incidence
  • Genetic markers and linkages

Environmental factors
Many hypotheses have been raised for environmental factors contributing to the pathogenesis of ulcerative colitis. They include the following:

Diet: as the colon is exposed to many dietary substances which may encourage inflammation, dietary factors have been hypothesized to play a role in the pathogenesis of both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Few studies have investigated such an association; one study showed no association of refined sugar on the prevalence of ulcerative colitis. High intake of unsaturated fat and vitamin B6 may enhance the risk of developing ulcerative colitis. Other identified dietary factors that may influence the development and/or relapse of the disease include meat protein and alcoholic beverages. Specifically, sulfur has been investigated as being involved in the etiology of ulcerative colitis, but this is controversial. Sulfur restricted diets have been investigated in patients with UC and animal models of the disease. The theory of sulfur as an etiological factor is related to the gut microbiota and mucosal sulfide detoxification in addition to the diet.
Breastfeeding: Some reports of the protection of breastfeeding in the development of inflammatory bowel disease contradict each other.

Autoimmune disease
Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease characterized by T-cells infiltrating the colon. In contrast to Crohn’s disease, which can affect areas of the gastrointestinal tract outside of the colon, ulcerative colitis usually involves the rectum and is confined to the colon, with occasional involvement of the ileum. This so-called “backwash ileitis” can occur in 10–20% of patients with pancolitis and is believed to be of little clinical significance. Ulcerative colitis can also be associated with comorbidities that produce symptoms in many areas of the body outside the digestive system. Surgical removal of the large intestine often cures the disease.

Crohn’s disease
Levels of sulfate-reducing bacteria tend to be higher in persons with ulcerative colitis, which could indicate higher levels of hydrogen sulfide in the intestine. An alternative theory suggests that the symptoms of the disease may be caused by toxic effects of the hydrogen sulfide on the cells lining the intestine

Treatment

Ayurveda is a natural system of healing and health maintenance. According to Ayurvedic medicine, healthy digestion plays an integral part in establishing good health and well-being. When the digestive system fails to function optimally, the body becomes congested, blocking circulation and inhibiting movement of toxins out of the body. Therefore, it is imperative that people work to establish good digestion.

As per Ayurveda, Ulcerative colitis can be considered as ‘Pittaja Grahani’.

In Ayurveda, it is known that perfect health exists when the three fundamental energies (doshas: Vata, Pitta and Kapha) are in balance. Out of these three, when Pitta dosha gets imbalanced, vitiates intestines and causes Pittaja Grahani.

Pitta energy fuels all the biochemical activities, including transformation, digestion, metabolism and assimilation. Pitta is responsible for all the enzymatic and endocrine activity, regulation of body temperature, pigmentation, vision, intelligence, vitality, ambition, courage and understanding. The key qualities of pitta are hot, quick, light, liquid, spreading, slightly oily and fleshy smelling.

Causes of Pittaja Grahani disease are Mandagi (poor appetite and poor digestion), irregular, improper and irrelevant diet habits, heavy to digest or indigestible foods, junk food, Pitta aggravating diets like excess of spicy, pungent, acidic, sour, alkaline nature foods, food items which produces burning sensation in the body, exposure to excess hot climate, alcohol, smoking, excess anger etc. Non-following of the healthy diet habits (Pathya) in certain digestive disorders, especially the conditions of post diarrhoea and irritable bowels, is also one of the causes of this disease.

Pittaja Grahani produces the classical symptoms of Ulcerative colitis. Vitiation of Pitta, when reaches extreme will causes severe inflammation, ulceration and rectal bleeding (active phase or flare-up).

At Bhagwati Ayurveda, we offer very effective treatment for Ulcerative colitis based on the classical principle of Ayurveda and our research. Our treatment of Ulcerative colitis is focused in healing the ulcers and restoring the normal function of colon and maintaining the overall health of the digestive system.

Treatment involves Shamana chikitsa (internal medicines), Shodana chikitsa (Panchakarma therapy), lifestyle modifications and very strict diet regime. In more severe case Panchakarma therapy plays a vital role as it quickly detoxifies & rejuvenates the digestive system, controls the inflammation, rectal bleeding and heals the ulcerations.

Usually, results are very good with an Ayurvedic line of treatment. Early cases tend to respond quickly than chronic. If a patient can stick to all the guidelines as advised, even complete cure can also be achieved.

Prevention

foods-to-avoid-in-ulcerative-colitis

There are many different Ayurvedic medicines used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis, and one of the most common ways of treatment is to use a combination of the four best medicines, which work in unison to get rid of the disease.

    1. Kutazghan vati: This medicine is derived from the tree Kutaz. Its scientific name is Halorrhreana anti dysentrica. The name itself suggests how effective the tree is in treating the disease. Diarrhoea can occur due to many reasons, and one of the reasons is ulcerative colitis. If diarrhea is due to this, then it can get treated by taking Kutazghan Vati tablets, which are made from the bark of the tree.
    2. Pitta balance with calcium compounds: When pitta or the gastric juices flow more inside the intestines, it leads to bleeding due to the ulcers inside, which needs to be balanced and controlled. The use of calcium compound rich Ayurvedic medicines serves the perfect remedy. Calcium is extracted from naturally occurring things like pearls and corals. When the tablets made from such calcium compounds are consumed, the inflammation within the colon goes down, bleeding reduces and gradually stops, and the internal irritation diminishes.
    3. Vatsakadi churna: Tablets made from elements like fennel, coriander, Aegle Marmelos, Nutmeg, pomegranate, Green Cardamom, work like magic in treating ulcerative colitis. These are all ulcer healing items, proven beneficial for ages, and cure fast. The main function of a combination of these herbs is in restoring the metabolic imbalance carried on in the body. The ulcers are healed soon with their use, and the body balance is restored.
  1. Arjuna capsules: One of the wound healing barks, really very famous in Ayurveda, is the bark of the Arjuna (Terminalia Arjuna) tree. This helps in many ways to heal wounds, and especially the endothelial layer inside the body arteries are healed from injuries related to free radicals, stress and other toxins. The same effects of the Arjuna tablets are seen inside the inner layers of the intestines. The ulcers are cleaned with time with the consumption of these tablets, while the bleeding also stops, and the diarrhoea which was due to the inflamed colon gets cured. Moreover, the haemoglobin level is also normalized in the body, which was once affected due to bloody diarrhoea.