This is not going to be one of the more attractive articles we’ve ever featured here at Natural Health Source. That’s because we’re going to talk about colitis – inflammation of the colon – which won’t kill you, but can make life very unpleasant and lead to further health issues down the road.
Bear with us on this. Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, like Crohn’s. That means such joyous pleasantries as heavy diarrhea and bloody stool (nice, huh?). If that’s not cause enough to dial your doctor up, consider a study released in 2013, which found colitis patients are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke.
Colitis is a disease that inflames the colon and rectum. Patients typically have tiny ulcers and small abscesses in this area, which in turn may lead to bloody stool and heavy bouts of diarrhea.
Symptoms of colitis include:
If left untreated, colitis can lead to weight loss, bleeding and loss of appetite.
While Crohn’s disease affects most of the intestines, colitis is limited to the colon and rectum. It’s most common in people between 15 and 30 and of American, European or Jewish descent.
Up to 20% of patients with an inflammatory bowel disease, including colitis, have a first degree relative with the ailment.
Symptoms of colitis tend to be hot and cold. You likely won’t notice them when they’re remission and will suffer accordingly when they hit.
You should speak with your doctor on the first sight of blood in your excrement. You should also consult your physician if you have persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding or clots of blood in your stool.
Bear in mind too that diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, and can even be deadly. That’s another reason to see your doctor quickly if you suspect something is going on.
We don’t know why people get colitis, but we’re getting a better understanding of the disease with each year. A study published in January suggests that viruses in the gut may contribute to inflammatory bowel disease – of which colitis is one of the most common.
The study found that people with inflammatory bowel disease had a greater variety of gut viruses than healthy people. And this may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg – for example, we already know that gut bacteria called probiotics fight harmful microflora and play an immeasurable role in gut function and health overall.
This new evidence seems to reinforce that link, and as the study researchers suggest, earns further interest in these gut bacteria and the role they play within the GI tract and the rest of the body.
Blood in your stool is more than disgusting. It may also be a harbinger of more urgent health isssues. Among them is higher risk of stroke and heart attack, according to a study published in 2013.
The study analyzed data from more than 150,000 patients with inflammatory bowel disease. The results, though preliminary, found the ailment boosted stroke and heart attack risk by ten to 20%.
That risk was higher in women.
Researchers say the results suggest that doctors should be aware of the link and focus on other risk factors for stroke and heart attack, like smoking, high blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes.
Patients with colitis and related inflammatory bowel diseases should work with their doctor to manage stress and eat healthy. They should exercise moderately too, and give up smoking, which seems to make colitis that much worse.
Although foods can’t trigger a colitis flare-up, they can make symptoms worse. That’s why you’ll want to devise your own colitis diet plan specific to your needs, and supply much needed nutrients to soothe your gut during this uncomfortable time.
There’s no one single colitis diet plan. The condition changes over time, which makes it important to pay attention to your symptoms and how they’re affected by the foods you put down. The following tips can help you do just that:
Keep a food journal – One of the most effective things you can do. Use a notebook to record everything you eat and drink. See how they make you feel.
Stick to the basics – A well-balanced diet, high in protein, whole grains, fresh produce, poultry and fish is a good reference point during a colitis flare-up.
Try smaller meals – An old dieter’s trick – aim for smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day rather than three big ones.
Keep your doctor in the loop – Maintain an open communication with your doctor. If you can afford one, you may also want to speak with a dietician with experience making diets for colitis patients.
Your treatment for colitis is whatever your doctor tells you. That may be drugs, changes to diet or even (rarely), partial or total removal of your colon.
But you’ve got another option for gut health. Some doctors now recommend natural supplements to soothe an inflamed GI tract. They typically have calcium, among other nutrients. And for this we’d recommend Intensive Colon Cleanse by Digestive Science.
Here’s the thing about your GI tract – evidence grows by the year that probiotics benefit gut function and health overall. That’s because probiotics are there to keep harmful bacteria in check. As this most recent study suggests, they may play a larger role in reduction of GI inflammation than we realize.
Intensive Colon Cleanse by Digestive Science is a 3 step natural system, with a gentle, 10 day cleanse, a probiotic supplement and ongoing digestive support with the superfood chia. It’s designed specifically to soothe an angry GI tract and give the body a chance to ‘restart’, with digestion-friendly nutrients like potassium and magnesium, which combine to assist with better tummy health and function, and offer benefits like better skin, stronger immune system and, very notably, less inflammation of the colon.
Try Intensive Colon Cleanse if your doctor clears you to do so. Combine it with the tips we’ve reviewed in this article, and you may soon fine the relief from colitis you’re looking for.