Although recent studies helped gain a better understanding of ulcerative colitis, researchers are still unable to find a permanent cure for this debilitating disease. If you aim to live a normal life with this lifelong chronic ailment, the best thing that you can do is to follow a treatment plan that will help you manage its symptoms and induce long-term remission.
Common Medications Prescribed for Ulcerative Colitis
If you’re suffering from flaring ulcerative colitis, then chances are you will be prescribed a number of medications to control your intestinal inflammation and ease painful symptoms. The prescribed medicines depend on the severity and type of your condition. Here are some of the conventional medications prescribed for ulcerative colitis:1
- Antibiotics: Metronidazole and ciprofloxacin are used for combatting the infections and complications brought about by ulcerative colitis.
- Aminosalicylates: These are used for reducing the inflammation of the intestine. This medication is given orally or rectally to patients with mild to moderate ulcerative colitis symptoms.
- Corticosteroids: Typically given to patients with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis symptoms, this drug reduces inflammation of the intestine by temporarily suppressing the immune system.
- Immune modifiers: Similar to corticosteroids, immune modifiers are also used for suppressing the overactive immune response of the body to manage intestinal inflammation.
- Biologic therapies: This is a type of drug that targets a specific pathway to manage the body’s overactive immune response. It’s given intravenously to patients who don’t respond well to conventional therapy.
Your doctor may also prescribe you over-the-counter medications, such as antidiarrheal drugs and pain relievers.2 Keep in mind, however, that these conventional medications may do your body more harm than good, as they can lead to adverse side effects. For instance, corticosteroids may put you at risk of osteoporosis, cataracts, sepsis, blood clot and diabetes even if it’s only used for a short period of time. The dangers that it may cause are even more significant if used for longer periods.
Will Surgery Help You Be Free of Ulcerative Colitis?
Surgery is one of the available treatment options for ulcerative colitis patients. This procedure involves the removal of colon and rectum. Once the large intestine has been removed, the small intestine will be connected to an ostomy bag or an internal pouch. This is usually recommended for people with severe ulcerative colitis symptoms or complications.3
However, surgical treatment is not a cure for ulcerative colitis. In fact, symptoms of ulcerative colitis may still occur even after surgery. This treatment method may also put you at risk of infection, bowel obstruction and pouch failure.4 Before you undergo this invasive procedure, make sure that you fully understand its long-term effects and decide whether it’s worth the risk or not.
Try These Safe and Natural Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis
Taking harsh medicinal drugs and undergoing invasive surgical procedures are not the only treatment options for ulcerative colitis. In fact, there’s a variety of holistic approaches that can help you manage your disease without putting your overall health at risk. One of these natural methods is taking herbal supplements. Here are some of the most common herbal remedies that can help you control ulcerative colitis:5,6
Studies have shown that aloe vera contains anti-inflammatory properties, which is why it’s an effective herbal remedy for reducing intestinal inflammations.
The curcumin content of turmeric gives it anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps reduce the secretion of acid in the stomach, effectively protecting the intestinal walls against ulcers.
Slippery elm bark
The powdered bark of slippery elm has been used by Native Americans for gastrointestinal problems. Studies confirm that its antioxidant property is indeed helpful for alleviating ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Boswellia is an Ayurvedic herb that’s been found to inhibit chemical reactions linked to inflammation.
The dietary fiber from psyllium is found to alleviate symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases and help maintain remission.7
Licorice promotes regulatory T-cell induction, which is critical for controlling immune responses. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
Make sure that you talk to your physician before using any herbal supplement to find out if it has any adverse effects on the medications that you’re currently taking.
Aside from taking herbal treatments, you may also try acupuncture to relieve pain and strengthen your immune system. The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is another method to alleviate pain and aches. However, unlike acupuncture, this procedure does not use needles. It’s a non-invasive procedure that helps eliminate pain through finger-tapping.
Fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) is also a promising treatment method for ulcerative colitis. This procedure involves transplanting donor feces to a patient through colonoscopy in order to promote healthy gut flora. Studies have shown that this can help treat gastrointestinal issues and induce remission.8