Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, commonly referred to as “IBD”. This disease is not completely understood, and researchers are still not aware of how ulcerative colitis is specifically caused, and in turn, they do not know how to prevent it from happening. It is believed that the immune system is reacting to some sort of bacteria or virus that have invaded the body, and that has affected the intestinal walls to be consistently inflamed. This immune system reaction is believed to be the result of the disease and not the cause.
They do know that it is not caused by specific foods, nor is it directly caused by mental stress, but these factors can be contributing factors to aggravate the situation. Other factors that may increase the risk of IBD include (but not be limited to):
Family history: If a parent or sibling is affected with ulcerative colitis, the chances of getting this and other similar types of diseases increase.
Smoking: Smokers will increase their risk of getting Crohn’s Disease, but the risk of potentially developing ulcerative colitis is said to decrease.
In addition, a compromised immune system may also be a contributing factor in developing ulcerative colitis and other types of inflammatory-based bowel diseases.
There are Several Types of Colitis
Depending on the affected area, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) have declared that there are several versions of this disease. For instance, ulcerative proctitis is an inflammation that is centralized to the rectum. Proctosigmoiditis affects the rectum, as well as the sigmoid colon. With Left Sided Colitis, the inflammation starts at the rectum and travels to the spleen. Then there is the pan-ulcerative colitis, which involves an inflammation of the entire colon.
No Appendix may Lower your Risk of Ulcerative Colitis
The appendix is a little organ that is situated where the large intestines first bends. The appendix may become inflamed (known as appendicitis), and this serious condition must be dealt with immediately (which usually involves the surgical removal of this organ). It seems that individuals who have had their appendix removed have inadvertently also lowered their risk of ulcerative colitis. Unless inflamed, the removal of the appendix is not recommended.
Ulcerative colitis is commonly referred to as the disease of the non-smokers. Nicotine has been studied as a treatment for ulcerative colitis, but no conclusive evidence has developed from this research. It is not recommended that people with ulcerative colitis start to smoke cigarettes, as smoking is associated with a whole host of other potential problems, such as colon cancer and lung cancer.
Breastfeeding: a form of natural protection against IBD
A new mother who breastfeeds her baby could be protecting the infant against the disease later in life. In addition, the risk of the mother encountering painful inflammation flare-up may decrease while she is breast feeding.
Ulcerative Colitis connected to Liver Disease
It is not commonly known that ulcerative colitis is associated with sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), which is a form of liver disease. Many times, individuals who are diagnosed with PSC are also diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. In the same manner, individuals who have been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease are often times diagnosed with PSC. PSC is found more commonly among the male population.
Quality Sleep is an Important aspect of Treatment
According to the director (Ashkan Farhadi, MD) of the Digestive Disease Center at Memorial Care Medical Group in California, the right amount of quality of sleep is necessary for the proper management of ulcerative colitis. It has been studied and proven, that women who get less than six (6) or more than nine (9) hours of sleep of night, have a higher increase of flare-ups. Establishing a pattern of going to bed and waking at the same time every day may help you to achieve the proper amount of required sleep. In addition, it is suggested that you keep your sleep environment dark and cool.