Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the large intestine also known as the colon. It is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation and open sores or ulcers on the inner lining of the colon. Ulcerative colitis affects up to a million men and women and is slightly more prominent in women. This type of inflammatory bowel disease IBD is commonly thought to begin during adolescent or early adulthood between the ages of 15-25.
Symptoms of ulcerative colitis are chronic and vary depending on the degree of inflammation and also where the ulcers are located. Generally, there is rectal bleeding and almost constant diarrhea. Some people experience mucus as well as blood in their stools, while others experience gas and bloating. The symptoms typically start out mild and progress as the inflammation increases.
The cause of inflammatory bowel disease is still unknown but many doctors believe its origin is outside of the colon. Outbreaks occur largely at irregular times with the symptom's first causing abdominal pain along with diarrhea. These symptoms are able to be controlled and put into remission for extended periods of time with the use of the appropriate medication. During a relapse of this inflammatory bowel disease the inflamed colon lining accelerates the loss of vitamins and water causing dehydration and the related side affects.
Poor eating habits, stress, and possibly food allergies are thought to be linked to ulcerative colitis. Sufferers are predominantly from the northern regions of the world. There is evidence that there is possibly a genetic link to the susceptibility of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis in African Americans is extremely rare.
Though diet can be a factor in the intensity of symptoms experienced, it is not altogether believed to be directly related in cases of ulcerative colitis. For instance, while eliminating dairy products from the diet reduces the symptoms, it has not been proven to be the cause or a cure for ulcerative colitis.
To understand individual symptoms of ulcerative colitis, those who suffer are encouraged to keep a journal daily record of what is eaten, what symptoms were experienced and if such outside factors such as stress were present. By keeping track elimination of certain colon allergens can be targeted. Common allergens are yeast, wheat, and diary products. They should be eliminated one at a time to target the correct irritant. By eliminating the culprit we can then find a way to permanent wellness.
As for a diet, it is thought that one of low carbohydrate, high vegetable protein is best. Include alfalfa and barley in ulcerative colitis diets. Stick to low fat meats such as turkey or chicken with the skin removed and baked or broiled fish for your animal proteins. Eat as many vegetables as you can, preferably raw, as this adds to the quality of fiber going through the digestive system. Include oat bran, lentils and some soy products and eliminate butter, fats, oil and diary from the diet altogether until you are sure of what is aggravating the situation.
Following these few simple guidelines will create a healthier digestive tract and lead to improved overall health. If these dietary tips are hard to follow try fiber supplements [http://ibsrelief.selishealth.com/ibs-treatment/fiber-supplements/] to help improve colon health. The addition of probiotics has also been found to be extremely beneficial to overall colon health.