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You need to calm down: Stressing out over gut inflammation WORSENS the disease, says research

You need to calm down: Stressing out over gut inflammation WORSENS the disease, says research

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease marked by chronic inflammation and the formation of ulcers in the digestive tract. This disease has no known cure and may even be debilitating or lead to life-threatening complications.

According to a study published in the journal Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine, high levels of fear and anxiety can affect the psychosocial functioning of people with ulcerative colitis. Psychosocial functioning reflects a person’s ability to engage in relationships, meet the demands of his community and perform day-to-day activities.

The impact of ulcerative colitis on the lives of patients

In their study, Polish researchers identified determinants of the level of anxiety and fear in a group of patients with ulcerative colitis. This chronic inflammatory bowel disease affects the mucous membrane of the large intestine and manifests itself through diarrhea with blood, mucus and pus. Ulcerative colitis is also known to progress with periods of relapses and remissions.

Treatment for ulcerative colitis is a long-term process that not only includes improving a patient’s clinical condition and quality of life, but also minimizing disease-related anxiety and fears. For their study, the researchers recruited 102 patients that have been diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. They collected data from these patients using the following:

  • Clinical Disease Activity Index
  • Rating Form of IBD Patients Concerns (RFIPC)
  • A questionnaire

The researchers also used statistical parametric and non-parametric tests to analyze the data they gathered.

The researchers reported that 64 percent of the recruited patients were in the active phase of the disease. Most of them (73 percent) expressed high levels of fear and anxiety about the impact of ulcerative colitis, their intimate life, the complications of the disease and stigmatization. Among these concerns, disease complications and impact caused the highest levels of fear and anxiety among the patients.

The researchers concluded that, besides the disease and its symptoms, high levels of anxiety and fear influence the psychosocial functioning of patients with ulcerative colitis.

Natural ways to manage ulcerative colitis

While ulcerative colitis has no known cure, there are natural remedies that can give people relief from its symptoms and occasional flare-ups. Common symptoms of this disease include fever, bloody stools, loss of appetite, anemia, rapid heart rate and digestive problems.

Here are some natural treatments that people with ulcerative colitis can try: (h/t to MedicalNewsToday.com)

  • Probiotics — Consuming probiotics, whether from fermented foods or supplements, is said to improve digestion-related symptoms, including the regularity of bowel movement and the texture of stools.
  • Herbal medicines — Medicinal plants like aloe vera, wheat grass and boswellia not only have immune-modulating properties, they also contain antioxidants that can help fight inflammation. (Related: What can TCM do against ulcerative colitis?)
  • Lifestyle changes — Simple lifestyle changes, such as switching to an anti-inflammatory diet and drinking plenty of water, can help reduce the symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements also helps prevent complications like bone loss as people with the disease do not absorb enough of these nutrients.
  • Group therapy — Attending group therapy sessions can help people deal with the emotional effects of ulcerative colitis.

Modern treatments for the disease usually involve the use of medications, such as steroidal drugs, immune modifiers, antibiotics and medications that address diarrhea or nausea. And while these drugs can offer relief, they are also known to cause adverse effects, such as dizziness, loss of appetite and unfavorable changes in mood and sleep patterns.

To avoid unwanted side effects, stick to natural remedies that work just as well as conventional medications. You can learn about other remedies and ways to deal with digestive problems naturally at Digestion.news.

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