Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a condition which involves inflammation and ulceration of the lining of the large intestine, medically called as colon. (Colitis= inflammation of colon).
Ulcerative Colitis is commonly misspelled as ulcerative colitis, ulcerative kolitis, ulceratvie colitis, ulcerative colitis, ulceerative colitis.
The digestive system is a system of organs responsible for digesting the food we eat so that nutrients in the food are available to body to provide required energy.
The digestive system consists of a long tube, which connects the mouth to the anus. Once food leaves the mouth, it enters the part of the GI tract called the esophagus and then the stomach. In the stomach food pauses for sometime and is mixed up with acid and juices present in the stomach.
It then passes into the small intestine, which measures about 20 feet in length. The small intestine has three parts; the part nearest the stomach is the duodenum, the next part is the jejunum and the third part that connects to the large intestine is the ileum. Small intestine is the site where most of the food is digested with the assistance of secretions from the liver, gall bladder, and pancreas. The nutrients from this digested food are then absorbed through small intestine.
Followed by the small intestine is the large intestine, which is more frequently referred to as the colon. The large intestine (colon) is 6-7 feet in length. The first part of the colon is called the caecum and the appendix is found there. The caecum and appendix are situated in right lower portion of the abdomen. Large intestine then extends upward (this portion being called as ascending colon), then takes a turn and passes across (portion called as transverse colon) and then goes down wards (descending colon). At the end of descending colon, portion of large intestine which look like alphabet S is called as sigmoid colon which opens into rectum. The main function of the colon is to absorb water from the processed food residue that arrives after the nutrients have been absorbed in the small intestine. The last part of the colon is the rectum, which is a reservoir for feces. Faeces are stored here until a bowel movement occurs.
The patients of ulcerative colitis have swelling along with ulcers located in their colon and rectum.
Broadly speaking ulcerative colitis is included under an umbrella term called as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD is a term referring to the diseases that cause chronic inflammatory condition of digestive tract. Another condition included under this category is Crohn’s disease. Crohn's disease can cause inflammation similar to ulcerative colitis anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum, but more commonly it attacks the small intestine in contrast to ulcerative colitis, which attacks mainly the large intestine.
SYMPTOMS OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Diarrhea, often with blood or pus
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Rectal pain
- Rectal bleeding — passing small amount of blood with stool
- Urgency to defecate
- Inability to defecate despite urgency
- Weight loss
- In children, failure to grow
Most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. The course of ulcerative colitis may vary, with some people having long periods of remission.
TYPES OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Doctors often classify ulcerative colitis according to its location. Types of ulcerative colitis include:
- Ulcerative proctitis. Inflammation is confined to the area closest to the anus (rectum), and rectal bleeding may be the only sign of the disease.
- Proctosigmoiditis. Inflammation involves the rectum and sigmoid colon — the lower end of the colon. Signs and symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps and pain, and an inability to move the bowels in spite of the urge to do so (tenesmus).
- Left-sided colitis. Inflammation extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon. Signs and symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and pain on the left side, and urgency to defecate.
- Pancolitis. This type often affects the entire colon and causes bouts of bloody diarrhea that may be severe, abdominal cramps and pain, fatigue, and significant weight loss.
CAUSES OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
The exact cause of ulcerative colitis remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors know that these factors may aggravate but donot cause ulcerative colitis.
One possible cause is an immune system malfunction. When our immune system tries to fight off an invading virus or bacterium, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too.
Heredity also seems to play a role in that ulcerative colitis is more common in people who have family members with the disease. However, most people with ulcerative colitis don't have this family history.
Ulcerative colitis affects about the same number of women and men. Risk factors may include:
- Age. Ulcerative colitis usually begins before the age of 30. But, it can occur at any age, and some people may not develop the disease until after age 60.
- Race or ethnicity. Although whites have the highest risk of the disease, it can occur in any race. If you're of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, your risk is even higher.
- Family history. You're at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
COMPLICATIONS OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Possible complications of ulcerative colitis include:
- Severe bleeding
- A hole in the colon (perforated colon)
- Severe dehydration
- Bone loss (osteoporosis)
- Inflammation of your skin, joints and eyes
- An increased risk of colon cancer
- A rapidly swelling colon (toxic megacolon)
- Increased risk of blood clots in veins and arteries
Inside the large intestine, the inflammation of the inner lining (mucosa) causes death of the colon lining cells and this results in sores or ulcers. Also the inflammation makes the colon to empty frequently resulting in diarrhea. As the lining of the colon is destroyed, ulcers form releasing mucus, pus and blood.
Nature of the Disease :
Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease and is notorious for its waxing and waning nature.
Usually the patients of ulcerative colitis have alternating periods of relative health where the patient is symptom-free or experiences very mild symptoms (remissions) alternating with periods of active disease (relapse or flare).
Fortunately, as treatment has improved, the proportion of people with continued symptoms appears to have diminished significantly.
HOMEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Merc Sol : Usefull for loose stools with excessive bleeding. The stools are very frequent.Useful when even after passing stool a number of times, there is no satisfaction.There is tendency to feel chilly all the time.
Nux Vomica : Useful for ulcerative colitis with frequent, scanty stool and marked tenesmus. Tenesmus refers to the ineffectual urge to pass stool almost constantly. The stool is scanty. Abdomen pain before passing stool may be observed.
Merc Cor : Usefull for ulcerative colitis with loose stool cotaining mucus, and blood. There is stool hot and offensive stool with burning in the rectum while passing stool may arise. There may be cutting, colicky pains in the abdomen.
Phosphorus : Usefull for treating ulcerative colitis cases with bloody diarrhea attended with weakness. The stool is copious, gushing, and watery. The character of the blood is bright red. The person feels exhausted after passing stool. Cramping pain in the rectum may arise on passing stool. Phosphorus is majorly indicated in case of inflammation of rectum i.e. proctitis.
RL - 36, RL - 13, DIGAVITA