What Is Ulcerative Colitis Disease?
Ulcerative colitis disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease that affects the large intestine, the colon. The exact cause of the disease is unknown. It can lead to serious or life-threatening complications if it is left untreated. Fortunately, ulcerative colitis can be treated, even cured, through a healthy diet that uses food combining.
The disease is similar to Crohn’s disease in that both conditions affect the intestines and cause inflammation. Unlike Crohn’s disease, however, ulcerative colitis only involves the colon and rectum. It is estimated that it affects over 2 million people in the United States alone. It is not believed to be contagious. Genetics may play a role in it, as individuals whose parents have the condition are slightly more likely to develop the disease. However, most people who develop ulcerative colitis have no history of it in their family, so the risk of inheriting it is small.
Ulcerative colitis is believed to be caused by the immune system being abnormally activated inside the intestines. The immune system contains immune cells and proteins produced by the cells and they defend the body against invaders. When the immune system activates, it causes the tissues at the activation site become inflamed.
This activation of the immune system normally only occurs during exposure to a harmful invader. In a person who suffers from ulcerative colitis disease, however, there are abnormal, continuous immune system activations without the presence of a known invader. This continued activation results in chronic ulceration and inflammation.
The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis disease are diarrhea and rectal bleeding, but there are other symptoms that can occur. The severity and types of symptoms depends on where in the body it occurs. Because of this, ulcerative colitis is classified by doctors as having five different forms.
Ulcerative proctitis is located in the area of the colon closest to the rectum and may result in rectal bleeding, an urgent feeling, and pain. Proctosigmoidtis involves the sigmoid colon and the rectum and often causes bloody diarrhea, pain, and the inability to have a bowel movement.
Left-sided colitis results in inflammation from the rectum through the descending colon and can cause abdominal pain on the left-hand side, unintended weight loss, and bloody diarrhea. Pancolitis often affects the entire colon and results in fatigue, severe abdominal pain and cramps, and sizeable weight loss. Fulminant colitis is a life-threatening, rare form that can cause shock and dehydration and causes profuse diarrhea and extreme pain.
To determine whether a patient has ulcerative colitis disease, a doctor will perform several exams and tests. Blood tests will be run to infections, anemia, and antibodies found in inflammatory bowel diseases. A stool sample will show if white blood cells are present and rule out other possible causes. Colonoscopies allow a doctor to see the entire colon and look for ulcers, blockages, and take a tissue sample for a biopsy. An abdominal CT scan can show where the colon is inflamed and the extent of the inflammation.
Treatment for ulcerative colitis disease involves making significant changes to the diet. Processed foods should be avoided or eaten sparingly and should be replaced by whole foods, fresh fruits and vegetables in the right combinations. Food combining is a system for eating foods that work together, activating the same digestive enzymes and using the same digestion rates, to support an easy breakdown of food. It creates a smooth process that puts very little stress on the digestive system. Food combining can ease digestive disease symptoms in as little as 24 hours and provides a safe, effective cure for ulcerative colitis disease.
Filed under: Colitis
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