Most people don’t think of chiropractic to treat conditions that do not involve the spine, but study after study shows it is effective in treating a wide variety of health issues. Ulcerative colitis seems to have no real connection with the spine, yet patients and researches alike are touting the effectiveness of chiropractic care to treat the condition. This is due, in part to chiropractic’s approach to whole body wellness, but spinal alignments are incorporated into the care as well. Bottom line, chiropractic care is extremely effective in treating uncreative colitis and many patients are finding relief from their symptoms and discomfort.
What is Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is a disease that causes ulcers (sores) and inflammation in the rectum and colon. Typically, only the sigmoid colon (the lower portion of the colon) is affected, along with the rectum.
However, the entire colon can be affected and the percentage of the colon that is affected tends to coincide with the disease’s severity of the symptoms. While ulcerative colitis can affect people of any age, the majority of people who are diagnosed with it are younger than 30 years old.
Researchers are not certain what causes ulcerative colitis, but many believe that it occurs when the body’s immune system over reacts to bacteria that naturally occurs within the body, specifically in the digestive tract. There also seems to be a genetic predisposition for the disease; it tends to run in families.
What are the Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?
The type and severity of symptoms that present with ulcerative colitis depend upon how advanced or severe depends on which area of the colon is affected and how severe the condition is. The symptoms may subside or disappear for several weeks at a time (there are some patient reports stating they had no symptoms for years), then they return. About half the people with ulcerative colitis experience mild effects.
The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:
- Diarrhea – This is the most common symptom. The diarrhea may have pus or blood in it, but it is possible to have blood in the stool and not have the ability to see it. In severe cases, the urge to go to the restroom to empty the colon may come on suddenly and powerfully. It may happen after a meal or after eating certain foods. Other times there may be no discernable pattern; it can happen at any time, even waking the patient out of a dead sleep.
- Pain – The most common type of pain with ulcerative colitis is in the belly and may feel somewhat cramping. However, some patients report joint soreness and photophobia (sensitivity to light) accompanied by eye pain.
- Nausea – The cramping can cause nausea, as well as the condition itself.
- Fatigue – The other symptoms such as pain and nausea can cause fatigue, but effects of the disease such as swelling in the colon and bleeding in the colon that depletes the body of red blood cells can also cause extreme tiredness.
- Dehydration – This can be caused by the diarrhea.
- Weight loss – Caused by the diarrhea and loss of appetite. The body may not be able to adequately absorb the nutrition from foods due to the disease, so weight loss and malnutrition follow.
- Sores – Mouth and skin sores may form as well as rashes.
What Treatments are Available for Ulcerative Colitis?
Different people are affected differently when they are battling ulcerative colitis. Patients with mild symptoms may be able to take an over the counter medication that treats diarrhea.
Acupuncture has been shown to reduce the severity and symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Acupuncture helps the body function optimally reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
The majority of patients with the disease take prescription medications that help decrease the immune response in the body. Lifestyle and dietary changes may reduce flare ups of ulcerative colitis . If the disease is very severe, the patient may need to undergo surgery and have their colon removed.