Ulcerative Colitis: Natural Remedies for Flare-Ups That Heal at Home
7 minute read
Ulcerative colitis is a common inflammatory bowel disease that impacts your digestive tract. Inflammation spreads through your gut, causing pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, and fever.
Ulcerative colitis can be life-threatening if left untreated. Sadly there is no known cure. Fortunately, there are natural remedies that have proven to be effective in reducing ulcerative colitis symptoms and restoring gastrointestinal health.
Understanding Ulcerative Colitis
While genetics and diet contribute to the development of ulcerative colitis and exacerbate symptoms, the true cause is unknown. A faulty immune system response leads to widespread inflammation, which irritates and damages the gut lining.
Over time, the damage caused can increase your risk of serious diseases and death. Until an exact cause can be identified, doctors believe that genetics, environmental factors, and diet play major roles.
If ulcerative colitis is left untreated, more serious diseases and complications can develop. You can suffer severe dehydration and blood loss as a result of tears and holes forming in the lining of your intestinal wall.
Your risk of developing blood clots also increases, as does your risk for liver disease and colon cancer. The inflammation of ulcerative colitis can be controlled and is the best way to prevent unpleasant symptoms and the development of these complications.
Typically, doctors prescribe NSAIDs, immune system suppressors, and steroids to help control inflammation. In severe cases, surgery can be performed to remove part of the damaged intestine if it is beyond repair.
| Related: 7 Signs You May Have Leaky Gut Syndrome |
The trouble with steroids and anti-inflammatory medications is that they come with side effects that may be unpleasant. Often drugs can worsen symptoms or cause entirely new ones, which makes natural options a preferred alternative.
Natural Intestinal Healing Remedies
Due to the common complaints associated with medications and surgery, research has uncovered many natural options for healing a damaged digestive system. From lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments, and stress reduction techniques, ulcerative colitis can not only be prevented, but it can also be successfully healed.
One additional benefit is that many people, especially the elderly, cannot tolerate many medications. Natural options allow for healing without additional pain. These include:
Regular Exercise: Exercise is beneficial to your overall health, but when it comes to ulcerative colitis, regular activity can help with many of the complications associated with the condition. Studies have shown that individuals with ulcerative colitis also suffer from decreased bone density, emotional health problems, weight gain, and suppressed immune system.
Exercise can help boost moods, promote weight loss, boost energy levels, and support bone health. In addition to this moderate exercise triggers the release of specific chemicals called myokines that promote healing from inflammatory-related damage.
Yoga is a specific exercise that takes care of the digestive system and provides relief for many ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Stress Reduction: Stress and anxiety are intricately linked to inflammation. The release of inflammatory chemicals is a direct result of the body experiencing stress.
Any inflammation will only further damage your already-ailing intestinal wall, so combating stress becomes an important goal. Meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing all support healthy digestion, improved circulation, and relaxation, which prevents further damage to your gut.
When you have a disease that is driven by inflammation, stress needs to be avoided at all costs.
Probiotics: Another major contributing factor to inflammation is an unbalanced bacterial colony in your gut. The trillions of bacteria living in your gut are beneficial and support digestion as well as immunity.
Poor diet, use of medications, and certain diseases cause your friendly bacteria numbers to dwindle. When this happens, your gut becomes overgrown with harmful strains.
Inflammation can worsen ulcerative colitis symptoms and accelerate the progression of the disease. The easiest way to maintain bacterial balance and a healthy gut is with daily supplements of probiotics or probiotic foods.
Dietary Changes: A balanced diet is recommended for everyone. For those with ulcerative colitis, diet becomes a cornerstone of treatment.
High fats, greasy foods, sugar-laden treat, and processed snacks are all linked to relapses of ulcerative colitis flare-ups. Harmful bacteria thrive on sugars and unhealthy fats, which allows them to take over your gut and spread inflammation and intestinal damage.
By removing these foods, your gut bacteria remain in full force and your gut health remains optimal.
Alcohol and spicy foods are also known to trigger inflammation and should be avoided too. Green tea and several fresh fruits and vegetables like broccoli, blueberries, ginger, strawberries, and spinach are also good for controlling inflammation.
Acidic fruits, like citrus fruits, increase inflammation and acid in the gut so should be avoided with ulcerative colitis, even if they are generally healthy otherwise.
While unhealthy fats are to be avoided, healthy options like omega-3 fatty acids are to be increased. Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, making them an ideal weapon to have in your ulcerative colitis arsenal.
Supplemental Support: Herbal supplements and remedies have been shown to relieve ulcerative colitis symptoms as well as promote healing of inflamed intestinal walls. Boswellia serrata has been used for centuries to heal inflammatory conditions and can be successfully used to heal ulcerative colitis.
Curcumin, which is the main compound of the spice turmeric, has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent for centuries.
Whether you add the spice to your meals or start taking a daily curcumin supplement, you can protect your gut from the harmful inflammation of ulcerative colitis. Both turmeric and Boswellia serrata support the function of probiotics and can be a natural winning combination against the condition.
The Bottom Line
Ulcerative colitis may not have a known cause or cure, but there are known methods to successfully treat symptoms. Inflammation is the most dangerous aspect of the condition and it can make symptoms worse or lead to a fatal outcome.
By relaxing, eating right, and exercising more, you can keep inflammation under control. The best defense against inflammation lies in the microbiome of your gut.
By keeping gut flora numbers in balance, your gut stays healthy, you stay comfortable, and ulcerative colitis is no longer a worry.