Ulcerative colitis is a chronic non-specific inflammation of the large intestine mainly located in the mucosal layer of the rectum and distal part of the colon. The main symptoms are diarrhea with blood, pus and mucous in the stools, abdominal pain and tenesmus.
Ulcerative Colitis Chinese Medicine Perspective
Chinese medicine considers ulcerative colitis as having certain characteristics of dysentery: diarrhea, blood in the stool, intestinal wind and toxin in the colon. The main pathological changes in this disease are located in the spleen, stomach and large intestine and are closely associated with the liver and kidney. Spleen and kidney deficiency and exuberant dampness are the main etiological factors. In Chinese medicine, the key to a successful treatment is to assess the degree of excess and deficiency to control the condition at the remission stage.
Integration of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine
The basis of a western medicine approach to treat ulcerative colitis is formed by local/oral use of aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Sometimes surgery is needed if medical management has not achieved a satisfactory response in either acute or chronic conditions. Immunosuppressants may be required for frequent relapse conditions.
Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help control the condition and prevent aggravation and subsequently reduce symptoms. Combination of Chinese herbs and acupuncture can help to reduce colon inflammation, and modulate the immune response to prevent further relapsing of the condition. With a holistic view of the whole person, a favourable clinical outcome can be achieved, and the patient can slowly be tapered off the use of corticosteroid and other medications.
Chinese Medicine Diet Therapy for Ulcerative Colitis
It is recommended that patients should:
- Keep a diet of soft, easily digestible, and nutritious food, and eat small quantities frequently.
- Avoid raw food and cold drinks. A dairy free diet is recommended as well.
- Avoid intake of deep fried and oily foods. Better to eat boiled, steamed or stewed foods.
- In terms of staple food, rice or noodles cooked until they are soft will be more suitable for most patients. Congee is highly recommended for severe ulcerative colitis patients.
At Sustain Health, our Chinese medicine practitioners aim to prevent aggravation and subsequently reduce symptoms in the management of ulcerative colitis. Check out other digestive issue articles here.
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