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Ulcerative Colitis Print E-mail
by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, CA

Dr. Kennedy Ulcerative colitis is a nonspecific inflammatory disease of the bowel strongly suspected of having an underlying autoimmune factor. Autoimmune disorders are caused when the body's immune system, which is meant to defend the body against bacteria, viruses, and any other foreign product, malfunctions and produces antibodies against healthy tissue, cells and organs. The disease is characterized by chronic ulceration. The ulcers are caused by inflammation and are characterized by several asymmetric, superficial ulcerated areas.The main symptom of ulcerative colitis is abdominal pain with chronic, bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms can be: fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, dehydration (caused by diarrhea), malnutrition, anemia (caused by bleeding). Less commonly skin lesions, joint pain, eye inflammation, and liver disorders can appear. Because of the chronic inflammation of the wall of the colon, it may become thickened and develop scar tissue. The patient may develop polyp-like structures as a result of the extended chronic inflammatory response.

Ulcerative colitis usually begins in the rectosigmoid area of the large colon. It may involve one side of the colon, usually the left side; or it may eventually go on to involve the entire colon. In some cases, it can involve the entire bowel simultaneously. The disease is usually chronic, with repeated periods of flare-ups and remission. The first signs of ulcerative colitis may begin at any age; however, the highest incidence is between the ages of 18 and 30 with an appreciable increase in frequency during the 40s and 50s. It is most prevalent among people of Jewish descent. The exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. It may be related to an autoimmune factor or an unknown environmental agent or some combination. Ulcerative colitis tends to run in families suggesting a genetic predisposition. Stress may aggravate the condition, but it is not considered a cause.

Conventional treatment involves the use of Prednisone and other corticosteroids with intolerable side-effects and damage to the immune system as well as "weak sister" anti-inflammatories which do not get the job done. Alternative treatments, which work better in my experience, are detoxification, expecially from heavy metals and a radically different approach described in this article: Inflammatory Bowel Disease, A New Treatment Approach.

The information in this article is not meant to be medical advice.�Treatment for a medical condition should come at the recommendation of your personal physician.

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