by Dr. Harish Kumar Verma
Ulcerative Colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease, which causes inflammation and ulceration of inner lining of the colon and rectum. The inflammation usually begins in the rectum and sigmoid colon and spread upward to the entire colon. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine. It occurs at the rate of approximately five cases per 100,000 people. The disease pattern is one of the remission and exacerbation. It can occur at any age but its onset is most common among people between ages of 15 - 40. Ulcerative colitis affects male and females equally and appears to run in some families.
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis ? -The exact cause of Ulcerative is not known. Autoimmune factors, food allergies, collagen disorders, genetic factors, infection and psychogenesis have all been suggested. One or some combination of these factors thought to trigger the inflammatory process. The theory of the involvement of the immune mechanism has been widely accepted because of concept that therapeutic agents like Corticosteroids and Azothiaprine exert their effect via the immuno suppressive mechanism. The psychological factors of feelings like anger and anxiety of the degree of depression experienced by a sufferer are also important in modifying the course of the disease.
How Ulcerative Colitis Affects the Intestines ? In Ulcerative Colitis, inflammation is triggered by some unknown elements. Hyperemia and swelling occur as part of the vascular response. The swollen, engorged bowel is fragile and is therefore inclined to ulcerate, thus creating a break in the mucosal barrier. Digestive enzymes and intestinal bacteria act upon this exposed tissue, causing further irritation, inflammation, ulceration and bleeding.
Ayurvedic view - Sushruta mentioned in Sushruta Samhita about 3000 years ago that Pitta type people are more prone to Ulcerative Colitis (Rakata Atisaar).
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis according to Ayurveda -All the factors that imbalance ‘Pitta’ bio-energy are also responsible for developing Ulcerative Colitis. These include indulgence in too many arguments, eating while watching TV or walking, watching too many violent movies, excessive heat or exposure of the sun, excessive alcohol and smoking, excessive mental activity, skipping meals, spicy, sour or stale and infected foods etc. In Pitta constitution persons, Pitta gets aggravated very quickly with the above factors and patients develop diarrhea followed by bloody diarrhea.