Monday, December 1, 2014

5 Ways to Approach Ulcerative Colitis

5 Ways to Approach Ulcerative Colitis

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5 Ways to Approach Ulcerative Colitis

Posted: 30 Nov 2014 07:00 AM PST


Ulcerative colitis presents numerous treatment challenges. 18% of patients suffer from an active form of the disease, and 30% of those patients need a colostomy within 10 years of diagnosis. [1] Factors such as the timing of identification, environmental elements influencing the colon, and possible side effects have led researchers and doctors to look beyond the standard treatment protocols to alternative approaches.

1. Drugs

Mainstream treatment of colitis uses a variety of drugs, mainly corticosteroids, depending on the severity of the disease and the responsiveness of the patient. With the use of drugs, about 30% of patients experience remission at 52 weeks of treatment. [2] [3]

2. Surgery

The most severe cases do not respond to drug treatments and may develop into advanced conditions, such as colorectal cancer. Surgery remains a regular practice for non-responsive patients. Some doctors have introduced a three-state surgery for active ulcerative colitis; the standard procedure involves only two stages. Researchers recently evaluated both approaches and found, while the 3-stage procedure is assumed safe, the results do not confirm this belief. [4] Patients undergoing the traditional two-stage surgery had no difference in abscess formation or pouch failure (a surgical creation to replace the colon and rectum). [5]

3. Fecal Matter Transfer (FMT)

The idea behind this new treatment involves relocating healthy colonic bacteria from a donor host to a patient. In other words, the technique essentially transfers fecal matter from one person to another. A study looking at the effectiveness of this procedure noted success in 1 out of 5 patients, or 20%. [6] [26] Another, perhaps more preferable, way to get healthy bacterial colonies into the gastrointestinal tract involves the use of probiotics.

4. Probiotics

Probiotics have captured a lot of attention as a possible therapeutic option for ulcerative colitis. [7] Results of probiotic supplementation seem to prove favorable for maintaining one's remission status. [8] Adding probiotics by introducing kombucha, fermented sauerkraut, or probiotic supplements can go beyond protecting the colon, with plenty of research showing its positive effects on digestion and immune system health.

5. Acupuncture

The ancient practice of acupuncture has shown promise for ulcerative colitis, with numerous research studies examining its effect on easing the severity of the disease. One study looked at moxibustion application (the heating of an acupuncture site) in tandem with a traditional ulcerative colitis drug. Patients with a mild to moderate condition experience much greater relief and symptom reduction than those who did not receive the moxibustion application. Another study examined the use of Kuijiening plaster to treat the spleen-kidney yang deficiency associated with ulcerative colitis. [9] Patients receiving the Kuijiening plaster treatment responded significantly better than those only receiving the standard drug. [10] The continued success of holistic treatments suggests the need for a broader consideration of the disease and its approaches.

Ulcerative Colitis: A Look to the Future

Strides continue to be made in the effort to find safe, effective treatments for ulcerative colitis. Alternative tools like probiotics and acupuncture have shown an immense amount of promise. Every patient facing the challenge of ulcerative colitis needs to keep informed of the advancements in how the disease is being approached, both by natural and conventional methods.

Have you ever experienced ulcerative colitis? Let us know your thoughts and experiences with this disease in the comments!

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Nieminen U, Jussila A, Nordling S, Mustonen H, Färkkilä MA. Inflammation and disease duration have a cumulative effect on the risk of dysplasia and carcinoma in IBD: a case-control observational study based on registry data. Int J Cancer. 2014 Jan 1;134(1):189-96. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28346.
  2. Mehta SJ, Silver AR, Lindsay JO. Review article: strategies for the management of chronic unremitting ulcerative colitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jul;38(2):77-97. doi: 10.1111/apt.12345.
  3. Reinisch W, Sandborn WJ, Panaccione R, Huang B, Pollack PF, Lazar A, Thakkar RB. 52-week efficacy of adalimumab in patients with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis who failed corticosteroids and/or immunosuppressants. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2013 Jul;19(8):1700-9. doi: 10.1097/MIB.0b013e318281f2b7.
  4. Hicks CW, Hodin RA, Bordeianou L. Possible overuse of 3-stage procedures for active ulcerative colitis. JAMA Surg. 2013 Jul;148(7):658-64. doi: 10.1001/2013.jamasurg.325.
  5. Dayan B, Turner D. Role of surgery in severe ulcerative colitis in the era of medical rescue therapy. World J Gastroenterol. 2012 Aug 7;18(29):3833-8. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v18.i29.3833.
  6. Khan N, Abbas AM, Almukhtar RM, Cole EB, Khan AN. Adherence and Efficacy of Screening for Low Bone Mineral Density Among Ulcerative Colitis Patients Treated With Corticosteroids. Am J Gastroenterol. 2014 Jan 28. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2013.486.
  7. Angelberger S, Reinisch W, Makristathis A, Lichtenberger C, Dejaco C, Papay P, Novacek G, Trauner M, Loy A, Berry D. Temporal bacterial community dynamics vary among ulcerative colitis patients after fecal microbiota transplantation. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013 Oct;108(10):1620-30. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2013.257.
  8. Kruis W. Probiotics. Dig Dis. 2013;31(3-4):385-7. doi: 10.1159/000354706.
  9. De Greef E, Vandenplas Y, Hauser B, Devreker T, Veereman-Wauters G. Probiotics and IBD. Acta Gastroenterol Belg. 2013 Mar;76(1):15-9.
  10. Zhang LC, Zhang S, Zhong W, Long JX, Li XN, Chen LS. Observation on clinical effect of ZHUANG medicine mediated thread moxibustion combined with medication for patients with ulcerative colitis. Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2013 Oct;38(5):399-402.
  11. Huang L, Cai Z, Zhu Y, Wan H. Treatment of ulcerative colitis with spleen and kidney yang deficiency by kuijiening plaster: a randomized controlled study. Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2013 Jul;33(7):577-81.

The post 5 Ways to Approach Ulcerative Colitis appeared first on Dr. Group's Natural Health & Organic Living Blog.

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