Ulcerative Colitis Medical Options

According to western medicine, ulcerative colitis is a chronic non-specific idiopathic gastrointestinal inflammatory disease. Several etiologic factors have been suggested, but none are proven at the present time. Since there is no known cause, specific therapy is not available and all available drug treatment focus on symptomatic relief. Surgery cures the disease but will require permanent ileostomy (cutting off a portion of the large intestines) in addition to physical and emotional burden.

Most common medications to treat ulcerative colitis include: Aminosalicylates, Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine), Mesalamine (Asacol, Rowasa), Balsalazide disodium (Colazal), Corticosteroids (such as budesonide, prednisone, and prednisolone). In addition, immune system suppressors, nicotine patches, anti-diarrheal medications are often used.

Surgical Procedures

20 to 30% of people with ulcerative colitis must eventually have their colon or colon and rectum removed (colectomy or proctocolectomy) because of massive bleeding, severe illness, rupture of the colon, or the risk of cancer.  Although the surgery often eliminates the disease, it may result in having 5 to 7 watery bowel movements a day, and up to one-third of people who undergo this procedure develop pouchitis, an inflammation of the pouch that was created to reconnect the severed intestines to the rectum.

It’s Already Allergy Alert Season!

Symptoms of runny nose, sneezing, and watery itchy eyes that recur certain time of the year cause a great deal of suffering among a large segment of the U.S. population. The worst offender of all is tree pollen which is most prevalent in the spring; grass and weed pollens follow in late spring and summer.

allergy alert

While many over-the-counter remedies promise symptomatic relief, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine offer healthier and more balanced solutions by addressing the underlying causes of symptoms, and treating the whole body instead of focusing only on the respiratory-related issues.

What are allergies?

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of misplaced immunity. It is a learned response by the immune system wherein rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion and sneezing, asthma, and even diarrhea are produced. Typically, exposure to an allergen such as tree pollen elicits a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.

Allopathic Treatment of Allergies

Basic allopathic [western] medical therapies often rely on inhibiting the allergic response; antihistamines (Chlor-trimetron, Benadryl, etc.) are a good example. Other types of drugs used to treat allergic rhinitis or asthma include ones which act on the nervous system (Albuterol, epinephrine), cortico-steroids (prednisone), and decongestants.

Western medicine also emphasizes the importance of avoiding the allergen if possible, and the use of air filters to decrease exposure. When avoidance or elimination is impossible or impractical, the next level of treatment may be desensitization, the injection of small amounts of the allergen in gradually increasing doses in order to neutralize over time the number of antibodies present.