Ulcerative colitis is a condition where lining of the large intestine and the rectum become inflamed. It is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Inflammation produces tiny sores called ulcers on the lining of colon. The inflammation causes the bowel to move its contents rapidly and empty frequently. As cells on the surface of the bowel die, this leads to the formation of ulcers. It can affect people of all ages. The ulcers may cause bleeding and discharge of mucous and pus. It is considered as a chronic disease by modern physicians. The cause of disease is also unknown. Treatment of ulcerative colitis in modern medicine generally includes prescription of steroids and anti-cancer drugs or surgery. Long term intake of steroids lead to certain side effects. Modern medicine believes that there is no cure for ulcerative colitis.
- It is known by the name ‘Pittaj Grahani ‘ in Ayurveda. There is a mention of this disease in the 19th chapter of Charak Chikitsa Sthana. According to Ayurveda, this disease is caused by the increase of Pitta Dosha with varying degree of Vata invovement in some cases. Pitta in the body is increased by the intake of hot and spicy foods in the diet. This disease is completely curable and the patient can lead healthy life. Various herbs which are astringent and cooling and thus aid digestion are prescribed by Ayurvedic physicians in ulcerative colitis. Such herbs are easily available and there are no side effects at all as experienced by the patients who take modern medicines for the disease. There is a big chapter in Ayurveda which deals with the digestive problems.
- Ayurveda believes that this disease is 100% curable while modern medicine considers it as an incurable disease. The excessive consumption of Pitta-aggravating foods and lifestyle leads to the formation of Ama which gets deposited in the villi of intestines damages both rakta dhatu (blood tissue) and mamsa dhatu (muscle tissue), thus a smooth coating is formed which impairs the normal function and immunity of the intestines. Vata Dosha in the colon is also aggravated and in the early stages blocks the Pitta and Kapha channels, causing inflammation.
- It has been seen that now a days majority of the young population is suffering from ulcerative colitis due to the wrong eating habits. It is the time period of one’s age when the digestive fire must be good. The digestion of the people must be strong enough during young age. Suffering from such digestive problems in the young age is a cause of concern. Unfortunately, due to the lack of knowledge youngsters keep on mugging junk food which ultimately increase the ‘Pitta’ level in the body. Junk food mainly contains maida (refined flour) which is one of the major cause of ulcerative colitis.
What are the causes of Ulcerative Colitis?
Modern medicine believes that cause of this disease is unknown but Ayurveda believes that this disease is caused by-
- Regular intake of junk food in diet like- food made of refined flour
- Intake of fermented foods
- Consumption of alcohol
- Spicy, hot foods in diet
What are the symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis?
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stools
- Rectal pain
- Increased abdominal sounds
What are the complications of Ulcerative Colitis?
- It can increase the risk of colon cancer.
- Sepsis(blood infection)
- Severe dehydration
- Thickening of the intestinal wall
- Hole in the colon
A strict diet rich in astringent principles helps to keep the disease under control. Diet which is not very heavy and which aids in digestion is beneficial in ulcerative colitis.
- Buttermilk (lighter in nature) if prepared from cow’s milk or goat milk can be taken.
- Fresh pomegranate juice if taken regularly can give excellent results as it controls bleeding and very useful in diarrhea.
- Banana is rich in astringent principles, avoids diarrhea and bleeding through rectum.
- Honey due to its astringent properties aids in wound healing thus having soothing and cooling effect on the intestinal wall. It is quite useful as patient suffers from dehydration and lack of proper absorption.
- Ginger improves digestion and corrects enzyme balance of stomach and intestines.
- Bael fruit is natural anti-inflammatory.
- Nutmeg is soothing and heals the wounds of intestines.
- Taking cumin seeds are also very helpful as they improve digestion.
- Fresh coriander leaves balances Pitta because it is a natural coolant.
Worst foods for ulcerative colitis:
Diet control is crucial in managing ulcerative colitis treatment. Foods that are hard to digest that cause increase in Pitta and fiber rich diet must be avoided.
- Wheat, barley rich in fiber initiates bowel movements hence must be avoided in the initial stage of treatment.
- Black gram take long time for digestion hence must be avoided.
- Peas cause Vata imbalance in intestine and cause bloating hence must be avoided.
- Milk and milk products are not recommended.
- Junk food made of refined flour like-bread, biscuits, burger, noodles, pizza, pasta, momos, spring rolls must be strongly avoided.
- Alcohol, tea, coffee, meat, hot, spicy foods must be avoided.
Various Ayurvedic medicines like- Kutajghan vati, Vatsakadi churna can be taken alongwith astringent and cooling diet for ulcerative colitis as diet plays a major role in this disease. Medicines are of no use if proper diet is not followed.
It is strongly advised to take fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables in the diet and say a big NO to refined flour (maida), alcohol, hot and spicy junk food. As this disease is a result of unhealthy eating habits only, so it can be corrected by making changes in the diet.
By taking healthy food, our body feels fresh and energetic thus we can work better. It is unfortunate that even in country like India from where Ayurveda originates, there are many people suffering from ulcerative colitis due to the lack of awareness. India must not follow the path of west from where concept of junk food originated which is destroying the health of our young generation.