Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome are discussed with respect to their nature, occurrence, symptoms and treatment.
Chronic inflammation and ulceration of the inner lining of the colon is called Ulcerative Colitis (UC). There is another condition of inflammation of the intestines closely related to UC known as Crohn's disease. Together UC and Crohn's disease are known as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
Ulcerative Colitis can last for years and decades. Both men and women can develop UC at any stage of their lives but mostly it begins during adolescence. It is more prevalent in US, UK and northern Europe, and is rarely seen in people from Eastern Europe, Asia and South America.
Abnormal activation of immune system in the absence of external invading microorganisms results in inflammation of the inner lining of the large intestine causing Ulcerative Colitis. Inflammation per se is an important mechanism of defense against foreign microorganisms entering the human system. However, abnormal activation, which in the absence of invading microorganisms, appears to be genetically inherited causing chronic inflammation and ulceration.
It has symptoms like rectal bleeding, diarrhea, urgency to defecate, and painful urge to move one's bowels etc. depending on the extent of inflammation and whether it is confined to only rectum or rectum and the sigmoidal portion of colon or the whole colon. Accordingly in the increasing order of the seriousness of the symptoms Ulcerative Colitis is named: a) Ulcerative Proctitis, b) Proctosigmoiditis, c) Left-sided Colitis, d) Pancolitis or Universal Colitis and e) Fulminant Colitis.
Medication that can cure Ulcerative Colitis is not widely reported. Medication is only to prolong periods of remission and decrease the periods of relapse. Towards this end, anti-inflammatory drugs such as 5-ASA compounds such as sulphasalazine, olsalazine, mesalamine and some immunomodulators that suppress the body's immunosystem are useful. Natural remedies like Omega-3-Fatty acids, Oral Aloe Vera Gel, Boswellia (a resin from a tree bark native to India), Dietary folic acid supplements, Acupuncture and a mixture of protein digesting enzymes (called Bromelain) derived from pine apple stem including meditation, controlled breathing etc, are recommended. Homeopathic medicines like Mere Sol, Mere Cor, Sulfur and Phosphorus are specified to treat UC. Ayurvedic Ulcerine-I and II compounds are available as total curing agents without the problem of relapse. Ulcerative Colitis cure by surgery is done in extreme cases of inflammation.