Do Probiotics Help Fight and Prevent Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Ups?

7 minute read

Living within your gut are trillions of bacteria. There is no need to panic, however, because most of these bacteria are helpful.

Unlike the bacteria and germs you are told to avoid, these beneficial flora help to protect your gut and promote optimal digestion and health. In fact, digestive problems such as ulcerative colitis can be prevented or treated when you promote the health of your gut bacteria.

What You Should Know About Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disease of your bowels that develops when the lining of your large intestine becomes inflamed. In small doses, inflammation is a beneficial part of the healing process. However, when it becomes chronic, severe damage can be done to your intestinal walls.

When inflammation is untreated, ulcers can develop in the intestines causing pain and further inflammation.

There is no single cause for ulcerative colitis, but chronic inflammation seems to play a major role. In general, your immune system seems to respond in an abnormal way to a problematic colon, causing inflammation and the development of ulcers.

It is also believed that age and genetics can increase risk factors. Ultimately, anybody can develop ulcerative colitis, making it essential to take care of your gut.

The symptoms of ulcerative colitis may mirror other digestive troubles, so it is important to seek medical attention should you notice any combination of these symptoms:

♦ Fever

♦ Diarrhea

♦ Weight loss

♦ Abdominal pain and cramping

♦ Bloating and gas

♦ Increased abdominal sounds

♦ Malnutrition

The inflammation associated with ulcerative colitis interferes with your overall health and can negatively impact other parts of your body. In addition to all the digestive troubles associated with the condition, you may also experience painful and swollen joints, mouth sores, skin problems like acne, eye inflammation, and decreased appetite.

Ulcerative colitis needs to be treated upon diagnosis because it can significantly increase your risk for colon cancer if ignored.

Big Help From Little Friends

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that have a similar composition to the colony already living in your gut. Because the community in your gut can change as a result of poor diet, too much stress, or even illness, it is important to provide support to ensure your health doesn’t fade.

Probiotics are a natural way to reinforce your gut community and keep digestive and overall health in optimal form. As a result, probiotics can help prevent or treat digestive troubles such as ulcerative colitis.

You can find probiotics in numerous foods, but the most convenient and efficient means of increasing your intake is through daily probiotics supplements.

Ulcerative colitis is treated on two fronts. You can treat the flare-ups when they happen or you can prevent them. Studies have shown that probiotics can help to shorten the duration of flare-ups and symptoms are reported as being less severe.

There is no evidence that probiotics can prevent ulcerative colitis flare-ups, but by promoting optimal gut health, it seems unlikely that your gut will be in distress in the first place.

Because ulcerative colitis seems to be a problem between your immune system and your gut, a balanced gut could be the solution. An unbalanced gut microbiome is a contributing factor to triggered immune responses that can damage your gut.

Probiotics can help soothe and prevent ulcerative colitis symptoms indirectly by promoting an overall healthy gut environment. A well-functioning gut that is balanced in favor of good bacteria reduces inflammation by preventing intestinal permeability.

In addition to a probiotic prevention therapy, there are other natural options you can try to relieve any discomfort caused by ulcerative colitis flare-ups or to prevent the condition from developing at all.

Avoid Trigger Foods

As a digestive issue, what you eat can aggravate ulcerative colitis symptoms. Changing your diet to avoid foods that trigger flare-ups is one of the most successful and natural ways to prevent discomfort.

Dairy products, caffeine, and greasy foods are all known to trigger symptoms and should be avoided. In addition to this, limiting sugar intake helps because too much sugar interferes with your pancreas’s production of anti-inflammatory enzymes.

Regular Exercise

Exercise is a great way to manage some of the complications that are associated with ulcerative colitis. A weakened immune system, decreased bone density, stress, weight gain, and emotional health problems can all stem from ulcerative colitis.

Exercise allows your digestive system to relax and increases oxygen circulation, which promotes skeletal and muscle health. Remember that gentle exercise is the way to go because overexertion will stress your body and trigger inflammation.


Stress is a major trigger of inflammation and ulcerative colitis flare-ups. Research has shown that meditation and other relaxation techniques can calm upset digestive systems and reduce systemic inflammation.

| Related: Natural Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis Flare-Ups |

Meditation also lowers blood pressure and improves circulation and heart rate, which all support optimal digestive function.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s are powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that can reduce inflammation known to trigger ulcerative colitis flare-ups. Through either supplemental support or increasing your intake of fresh fish and healthy fats, you can naturally reduce unpleasant digestive troubles.

Herbal Help

Many herbs have been used for centuries to treat inflammatory conditions and can help you today. Boswellia serrata and turmeric both help reduce inflammation and protect your body from stress. Studies have found that curcumin specifically is beneficial for inducing remission of mild and moderate cases of ulcerative colitis.

The Bottom Line

Ulcerative colitis is just one of several digestive conditions you can develop when your gut is unbalanced. The bacteria in your gut help to promote digestion and nutrient absorption, all while supporting your immune system and overall health.

Probiotics are the best way to support the hard work your gut bacteria does. With regular supplementation, you can be healthy, happy, and clear of digestive troubles.  

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