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Naturopathic Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

You’re tired of the constant hospital visits and medications that come with treating Ulcerative Colitis with conventional medicine and want to try something different.


If you’re suffering from Ulcerative Colitis, naturopathic treatment can help.


In this guide, we will share naturopathic remedies for Ulcerative Colitis and explain how we go about treating this condition naturally in our Portland naturopathic clinic.


Table of Contents



What Is Ulcerative Colitis?


Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is considered an autoimmune type of irritable bowel disease that results in the immune system damaging the innermost lining of the colon and the rectum through constant inflammation. This causes thinning of that lining and erosions.


Those experiencing mild UC will usually show a normal physical examination. Patients with a moderate to severe course of UC will often have:

  • Tenderness in the abdomen

  • Fever

  • Low blood pressure

  • A higher heart rate

  • A pale complexion; and

  • Possible signs of malnutrition

Some complications of UC include blood loss, colon perforation, damage to other layers of the colon, and other damage due to systemic inflammation.


Ulcerative Colitis tends to affect adolescents. Up to 25% of patients with UC are younger than 20 years old. However, Ulcerative Colitis still affects both children and adults.


In fact, it is estimated to affect 1.2 million people in North America. UC is often diagnosed upon a patient who is experiencing diarrhea for more than four weeks and has received a diagnostic endoscopy and colon biopsy.



Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms


Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis can include:

  • Abdominal pain

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Rectal bleeding

  • Severe internal cramps/muscle spasms in the pelvis; and

  • Weight loss

There may be non-gut-related signs as well, such as:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fatigue; and

  • A rapid heart rate representing anemia due to the blood loss experienced


What Causes Ulcerative Colitis?


It is becoming more and more evident that disruption of the lining of the gut alters the gut flora and stimulates an inappropriate response from the immune system.


The combination of gut flora imbalances and this immune response creates this scenario of sparking on the damage to an otherwise normal gut.


These factors can disrupt the gut lining:

  • Standard Western diet, nutrient deficiencies, and lack of fiber

  • Food intolerances

  • Stress

  • An imbalance to the gut microbiome (aka dysbiosis)

  • Genetics

  • Medications such as NSAIDs and retinoic acid


Can You Have a Good Quality of Life With Ulcerative Colitis?


There are a number of factors that contribute to how UC can flare up and interfere with having a good quality of life due to the variations of attack episodes and periods of remission.


Having UC does not necessarily mean you are to constantly struggle with symptoms. It is possible to reach health resolution with very little or no reliance on pharmaceuticals.


Working with a naturopath can help allow you to be well-equipped with strategies to maintain a healthy gastrointestinal system and remain in clinical remission from UC.


4 Naturopathic Remedies for Ulcerative Colitis


There are many naturopathic remedies that can be used to treat Ulcerative Colitis.


Below, we will discuss some of the naturopathic remedies for Ulcerative Colitis that we implement at Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine.


#1: Dietary Remedies


Targeted nutrition is individualized for each patient.


Dietary remedies could include:

  • Avoiding certain foods, like dairy and refined sugars

  • Removal of specific carbohydrates and including complex carbohydrates, high-fiber foods, plant-based foods

  • Recommendations based off of food intolerance evaluations

  • Correcting nutrient deficiencies or malabsorption

Common deficiencies among people with Ulcerative Colitis include:

  • Folica Acid

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin K


#2: Herbal Remedies


Herbal remedies are also effective in providing natural treatment for Ulcerative Colitis.


Commonly prescribed herbal remedies include:

  • Robert's Herbal Formula with Echinacea, Goldenseal, Poke root, Marshmallow, and Geranium

  • Ashwagandha- a nice alternative to DHEA

  • Licorice

  • Rehmannia

  • Calendula

  • Chamomile


What Supplements Are Good for Ulcerative Colitis?


People who suffer from Ulcerative Colitis are at risk for nutrient deficiencies. Some supplements that can benefit people with UC include:

  • Folic acid

  • Probiotics

  • DHEA

  • L-Glutamine

  • Butyrate

  • N- Acetyl Glucosamine

  • Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs)

  • Fecal microbial transplant


#3: Lifestyle Remedies


Making changes to your lifestyle can help improve your quality of life with Ulcerative Colitis and reduce flare-ups.


Let’s take a look at some of the lifestyle remedies that can be implemented to help naturally treat Ulcerative Colitis.


Stress Management


Stress can trigger UC flare-ups. Some great ways to manage stress naturally include:

  • Adrenal support, if needed

  • Individualized herbs to support the nervous and digestive systems

  • Adjusting your work/life balance

  • Trying meditation; and

  • Maintaining adequate amounts of sleep

Exercise


Exercise can benefit people suffering from Ulcerative Colitis in a number of ways.


Ulcerative Colitis can lead to having lower bone density, which can increase your risk for ailments like osteoporosis. Some exercises that can help improve bone density include:

  • Climbing stairs

  • Walking

  • Hiking

Exercise like …

  • Yoga

  • Spending time in nature

  • Going on walks

  • Dancing

  • Tai chi

  • Swimming; and

  • Cycling

… can also help reduce stress and increase anti-inflammatory endorphin levels to help keep US flare-ups at bay.


#4: Hydrotherapy


When the body has accumulated inflammation and is unable to go about its proper functions of eliminating waste products of daily metabolism, the immune system is unable to discern what is a good cell and what is a bad cell, and it begins to attack itself.


Hydrotherapy is a means of supporting the body in being able to properly eliminate these waste products by encouraging the liver, kidneys, lungs, gastrointestinal organs, and skin to do so.


Hydrotherapy can help people with UC by:

  • Aiding in digestion

  • Supporting healing; and

  • Reducing stress

Some forms of hydrotherapy include:

  • Castor oil packs

  • Vinegar packs

  • Hot and cold alternating showers

  • Cold plunges; and

  • Enemas



Schedule a Complimentary Consultation With Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine for Natural Treatment for Your Ulcerative Colitis


At Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine, our doctors can provide you with a treatment plan that is specific to you and your goals. The above examples are just some options of what we provide.


The most crucial aspect of treatment is working as a team with your doctor, who is there with you the whole way, to develop a treatment plan and therapeutic diet to prevent flares and promote healing in your body.


References

  • Kuroki T, Ohta A, Aoki Y, Kawasaki S, Sugimoto N, Ootani H, Tsunada S, Iwakiri R, Fujimoto K. Stress maladjustment in the pathoetiology of ulcerative colitis. J Gastroenterol. 2007 Jul;42(7):522-7. doi: 10.1007/s00535-007-2042-z. Epub 2007 Jul 25. PMID: 17653646.

  • Lie, M.R.K.L., van der Giessen, J., Fuhler, G.M. et al. Low dose Naltrexone for induction of remission in inflammatory bowel disease patients. J Transl Med16, 55 (2018).

  • Moninuola OO, Milligan W, Lochhead P, Khalili H. Systematic review with meta-analysis: association between acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis exacerbation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2018;47(11):1428-1439. doi:10.1111/apt.14606

  • Oehlers SH Retinoic acid suppresses intestinal mucus production and exacerbates experimental enterocolitis. Dis Model Mech. 2012 Jul;5(4):457-67.

  • Seyedian SS, Nokhostin F, Malamir MD. A review of the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment methods of inflammatory bowel disease. J Med Life. 2019;12(2):113-122. doi:10.25122/jml-2018-0075

  • Shen ZH, Zhu CX, Quan YS, et al. Relationship between intestinal microbiota and ulcerative colitis: Mechanisms and clinical application of probiotics and fecal microbiota transplantation. World J Gastroenterol. 2018;24(1):5-14. doi:10.3748/wjg.v24.i1.5


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