Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis
How Can You Naturally and Holistically Manage Ulcerative Colitis and IBDs with Ayurveda?
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis? Is Ayurvedic Medicine – One of the Most Ancient Holistic and Natural Healthcare in World – able to offer help for IBDs or Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.
Ulcerative Colitis is one of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBDs) and also an Autoimmune Disorder. I will share here about Ulcerative Colitis from Ayurveda as well as medical and holistic point of view.
We tried to answer some relevant questions for you. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to write us.
Ulcerative Colitis Versus Other Types of Colitis or Colon Disorders:
Ulcerative Colitis is one of those disorders that is not directly and clearly mentioned in ancient Ayurveda books. Probably, it was because this disease did not exist in older days.
However, you have to be clear that Ulcerative Colitis is not…
Simple Colitis where there is inflammation of colon or large intestine because of microbes, the most common of them are Amoebic Colitis or dysentery or Pravahika.
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome which can be termed as non-infective, nervous diarrhea.
Raktatisar is simple diarrhea with bloody stool. It might be infective in nature and is not usually a chronic and progressive disorder. It is also not autoimmune disorder.
Ulcerative Colitis is not diarrhea or gastroenteritis that is simply vomiting and diarrhea because of infection or food poisoning.
Grahani or Sprue is also different from Ulcerative Colitis.
Then, you might be wondering what Ulcerative Colitis is actually is…
Grossly speaking, Ulcerative Colitis is colitis or inflammation of large intestine or gut, accompanied by ulcers that cause frank bleeding in stool, and several motions a day. Its episode might be completely non-infective initially, but it can be accompanied with infection later on, or secondary infection might also be there.
Ulcerative Colitis is also a part of IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Two of the common IBDs are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. These have minor and clear distinctions but share same type of pathology and are both grouped under Autoimmune Disorders.
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis – The Healthy Colon or Large Intestine or Gut:
Large bowel or intestine is made of Cecum and has four parts. These are ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon. The first three parts make an inverted U shape in your abdomen. You also remember colon for its beaded look as it houses ‘the stool or feaces’.
My importance and role is often ignored by healthy persons as they think that I can be involved only in minor problems like constipation, gas or bloating and diarrhea.
Large intestine has a very important role in digestive system. It extracts minerals and water from digested food that reaches here. About 10% of all water is absorbed in here.
Large intestine is acclaimed worldwide for its synergistic WIN-WIN association with Gut Flora or Healthy Microbes. You might be familiar with them as Probiotics. These microbes help in fermentation of undigested fiber and produce some substances that are used by Colon cells for nourishment.
The Healthy Microbial Flora is also responsible for production of vitamins and play an important role in our immune function. Their presence is extremely significant for regional as well whole body health.
Use of Antibiotic drugs directly destroys the healthy microbes and predisposes us to many deficiencies and problems. So always insist your medical doctor for advice about Probiotics when he or she prescribes you antibiotics.
People who are suffering from IBDs and IBS can tell you how much havoc these disorders can bring into their lives.
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis – The Ayurvedic Doshas involved in IBDs:
Large Intestine is important from Ayurveda point of view. It is a primary seat of “Apana Vata” (responsible for detox and cleansing through stool, urine and menstruation).
Colon continues after small intestine, which is the seat of Pachak Pitta (responsible for digestive juices), functional area of Rajank Pitta (place where bile functioning occurs) and Saman Vata (responsible for proper absorption and intestinal movements).
Colon along with small intestine is also the seat of “Ama Dosha” (the toxins that are considered as the cause of Autoimmunity in Ayurveda).
Now, you could see how the complete picture of Ulcerative Colitis emerges in Ayurveda. UC becomes a playing field of vitiated..
- Ama Dosha
- Saman Vata
- Various Pittas and Agni
- Rakta Dhatu (Blood tissue)
- Apana Vata
This is perfectly in alignment with Ulcerative Colitis as an IBD and Autoimmune disorder.
That is why I often say that if an Ayurveda doctor can adopt the Ayurvedic method of diagnosis, he or she should be able to get the precise information to make the right treatment plan. Otherwise, he or she might be hoping to manage the symptoms like ordinary herbalists without deeper and accurate understanding of the problem.
And I want to thank the entire medical community – as opposed to most herbalists, naturalists and CAM practitioners – the pathogenesis or mechanisms of most diseases are well understood in good depth by medical science. And they should be studied and made use while deciphering the unknown or less known disorders.
After all, we are all working for the betterment of people, under one large fraternity of health professionals.
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis – What Causes It?
Right now, there is no consensus regarding the cause of Ulcerative Colitis. Some possible causes are suggested…
Autoimmunity: Most doctors think Ulcerative Colitis to be an autoimmune disorder. It means that body starts to identify part of colon (affected part) as foreign and immune system starts to attack it, causing symptoms.
Some authorities also attribute bacteria and virus to be the cause or starting point of Autoimmune reaction, even though no such microbe is found out with certainty.
Stress-Induced or Triggered: Earlier, many people considered Ulcerative Colitis to be stress induced. Currently, stress is not counted as the cause but is a significant cause or risk factors for flare ups.
Genetic Predisposition: Many doctors start to think of a hereditary link or predisposition for Ulcerative Colitis. However, the fact is that many persons who have Ulcerative Colitis don’t have this disease running in their family.
The actual cause is not known even in medicine. But the changes and risk factors are studied in depth and some useful information is coming out of it.
In Ayurveda, there is a clear Vata-Pitta-Rakta Dhatu connection with Ama dosha. The variation of symptoms can guide easily which one is predominant at which time.
Who is more susceptible for Ulcerative Colitis – Men or Women?
Ulcerative Colitis is found equally in men and women. However, jewish and Caucasians are more prone to have Ulcerative Colitis.
If someone in your family has Ulcerative Colitis, you have more risk for having it. It has a tendency to run in family.
What Changes do occur in Ulcerative Colitis?
Rectum, Sigmoid Colon, Descending Colon and Transverse Colon and Ascending Colon can all be involved in Ulcerative Colitis.
The symptoms can start suddenly or build up over few days period. When you have Ulcerative Colitis for the first time, usually it might be confused with other disease unless you got it confirmed with appropriate tests and examinations.
The Acute Onset can be mild or aggressive. In mild condition, symptoms won’t be much troublesome. In Aggressive stage, there might be need for hospitalization or serious medical care. About 10-15% of people suffering from UC have always serious symptoms.
Submissive Phase Well Managed Condition:
After good medical care and treatment, the acute condition becomes silent. You might be OK with little or some medications. This is the second best condition.
Most people can resume almost normal lifestyle under this condition. This can be for even long duration if you adopt healthier diet and lifestyle.
Remissive Phase: It is the silent phase, where little or no medications are required. Only about 10-20% of patients suffering UC experience it. This is the best condition.
Flare Up or Recurrent Attacks:
Almost all persons having Ulcerative Colitis will experience flare ups or recurrent attacks. These might be triggered by many factors. We help you learn about all of them in our Health and Mentoring Program for Ulcerative Colitis.
This is often most distressing period when you as an almost normal person suddenly start to have serious symptoms. Most of the time, except stress, you won’t be able to find some lasting triggering factor.
Suddenly, you need urgent medical care and lot of drugs and many times hospitalization.
What are the Symptoms that You might have in Ulcerative Colitis?
Mild symptoms can be present when rectum (Ulcerative Proctitis) is affected. These include…
- Rectal bleeding
- Rectal pain
- Feeling of Urgency for Bowel
When Sigmoid Colon is affected along with Rectum (Ulcerative Proctosigmoiditis), the above symptoms become worse with…
- Bloody Diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Tenesmus (Inability to pass stool despite urgency)
When Descending Colon (Left-sided Ulcerative Colitis) is also involved along with above parts, other symptoms are also present as…
- Abdominal Cramps and Pain on Left side
- Weight Loss
Whole of Colon (Pancolitis) might be affected and all the above symptoms are present…
- Severe Bloody Diarrhea
- Abdominal Cramps and Pain
- Significant Weight Loss
- Night Sweats
- Difficulty in Medical Treatment
Sometimes, a rare form of Ulcerative Colitis (Fulminant Colitis) might occur and it has severe symptoms and complications…
- Severe Diarrhea, Bleeding, Pain
- Dehydration leading to Shock
- Risk of developing Toxic Megacolon and Rupture of Colon
Common Methods of Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis:
- Colonoscopy with Biopsy is the best method for visualizing, diagnosing and sampling of Colon
- Complete Blood Count or Gross Blood Picture
- Liver Function Test, C-Reactive Protein, Kidney Function Test
- Iron Studies
- Stool Test for Calprotectin Protein (indicator of inflammation)
- Stool Examination
- Barium Enema Xray
- Newer Modalities like Video capsule endoscopy (VCE) and CT and MRI Enterography
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis – Our Line of Treatment:
The Ayurvedic treatment of Ulcerative Colitis rests upon these principles…
- Ama Detoxification
- Vata Har (Anti-Inflammatory)
- Pitta Shamak
- Ulcer Healing
- Bowel Regulator (Not Common Anti-Diarrheals)
- General Immunity Modulation
- General Digestive Support
- General Body And Energy Support
- Mental And Emotional Wellbeing (Medhya Herbs)
- Dietary, Exercise and Lifestyle Mentoring
- Comprehensive Health and Wellness Mentoring
Modern Treatment of Ulcerative Colitis:
General Topical Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are simple pain killers and anti-inflammatory that needs direct contact with inflamed surface.
These work on the same principle as Non-Steroid Anti-inflammatory Drugs or pain killers. They relieve the symptoms and inflammation. These do have some side effects but are used in mild to moderate symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis.
5-ASA (5-aminosalicylic acid), also called mesalamine, are similar to aspirin. Several modified compounds are used as drugs that help to prevent its absorption in stomach and small intestine, or make it available in last part of small intestine. Some of them are…
- Sulfasalazine – A 5-ASA molecule linked with a sulfapyridine molecule, a Sulfa Antibiotic
- 5-ASA compound, Mesalamine, surrounded by an acrylic resin coating (Free from Sulpha Antibiotic)
- Lialda (Mesalamine multi matrix, MMX) is a Extended Release Tablet
- Apriso: 5-ASA that consists of extended-release Mesalamine granules encased in microcrystalline cellulose
- Pentasa: 5-ASA compound Mesalamine inside controlled-release spheres
- Olsalazine (Dipentum): two 5-ASA molecules linked together
- Balsalazide (Colazal): 5-ASA is linked by a chemical bond to another molecule that is inert
- Rowasa Enema is also used to treat mild symptoms. It is 5-ASA compound mesalamine in enema form.
Corticosteroids: Corticosteroids like prednisolone are prescribed as Systemic Steroids. They don’t need direct contact with inflamed surface. They bring down immunity, relieve inflammation and have a good range of side effects on mid to long term use.
Immunomodulator Drugs suppress the body’s immune function by reducing the cells responsible for immunity, or by interfering with proteins important in promoting inflammation. Some examples include 6-Mercaptopurine (6-MP), Azathioprine (Imuran), Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall) and Cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral).
These also do have quite serious side effects in the short term, rather immediately.
Surgical Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis:
Surgical removal of large intestine or its part is considered when complications of Ulcerative Colitis are present and threaten the life. Some of them are…
- Severe Symptoms not responding to drugs
- Complications such as Toxic Megacolon
- Rupture of Colon
- Precancerous changes in Colon
Our Holistic Wellness Program for Ulcerative Colitis & IBD
Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy is helpful when used selectively and judiciously. We have deciphered some practices that can be used at home.
Yoga, Health and Wellness Mentoring: This is our unique offering where we guide you indepth about diet, exercise and lifestyle. We help you to develop a workable, practice and effective schedule that help to keep you in remissive phase for long durations, and might be the starting point of a cure.
Herbs do play a key role as natural alternative to medical drugs. But I always insist with all our clients that Ayurveda coupled with Yoga, Holistic and Natural Living can guide you to wonderful physical and mental state of vitality and wellbeing. And we make it possible for you to get actual, practical, NO-BS thoughts, ideas, insights and practices from that realm. Also under the guidance of qualified experts.
Ayurveda and Ulcerative Colitis (IBD) Management
We evaluate first the condition of the person and condition of the Ulcerative Colitis based upon an Online Form and indepth Questionnaire or personal discussion.
We suggest you to always continue your drugs and medical supervision. We don’t foolishly and zealously guarantee and suggest you to take off all your medications. Some drugs like Steroids, that your doctor might have prescribed you, are not to be started or taken off by yourself.
The objective of our Ayurvedic Treatment for Ulcerative Colitis is Holistic, Ayurveda and Natural Management, within the realm of your comfort and safety.
After long periods of submission, or symptom free silent periods (3-6 months or longer), you are suggested to consult your doctor and take off drugs gradually under medical supervision.
During this period, if you are following our Health and Mentoring advice, you would be building up a good physical and mental reserve in your body, mind and consciousness to take this jump for predominantly Ayurvedic and Natural Management of Ulcerative Colitis.
Overall, you can sum up our Ayurvedic Treatment for Ulcerative Colisitis as…
Initially…our Ayurvedic treatment works as supportive and adjuvant treatment along with medical treatment. In some cases, when you are not taking any medical treatment, it can be the only treatment.
Second…Gradually over a period of 3-12 months, you are moved to a stage of Remission of symptoms with as little medical drugs as possible.
Third… It is the best possible condition when you could successfully mange the condition with Ayurvedic Treatment and Health & Wellness Mentoring, without medical drugs.
Fourth, a permanent cure is what every patient desires. Currently, we can’t promise you for that. But we can lead you closer to that and offer you the best possible Holistic, Ayurveda and Natural Management.