What Is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes ongoing inflammation and ulcers (open sores) in the innermost layers of the large intestine (colon) and rectum. The ulcers bleed and produce pus and mucus, and the inflammation causes the colon to empty frequently, causing diarrhea.

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Ulcerative colitis is similar to Crohn disease, another IBD. Crohn disease can happen anywhere in the digestive tract, often in patches, and can spread deeper into tissues.

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Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, is usually confined to the innermost layers of tissue and is uniform throughout the colon. Ulcerative colitis can be painful and have life-threatening complications.

Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is part of disease called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It presents with inflammation in the lining of the large intestine, specifically the colon and sometimes the rectum. The lining becomes inflamed due to small wounds or ulcers, which then produce mucus and pus.

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The inflammation and ulceration an cause pain and different problems, including frequent, watery diarrhea, persistent diarrhea with pain and bloody stool, urgent bowel movements, incomplete evacuation of the bowels despite a feeling of urgency, abdominal cramping, loss of appetite, weight loss, body fluid depletion, fatigue, fever or urgent diarrhea that wakes you up in the middle of the night.

How can Chinese medicine help patients with ulcerative colitis?

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An article published in the 2013 issue of Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine concluded that “acupuncture and moxibustion (a traditional technique that uses the smoke from the herb mugwort to penetrate the skin) demonstrated better overall efficacy than oral sulphasalazine in treating inflammatory bowel disease.”

Sulphasalazine is a doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drug that is commonly used in the treatment of ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis.