Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the inner lining of large intestine (colon) and rectum. It can affect any age group but usually it affects young and middle aged. It is a disease of modern developed world. In this disease, mucosal lining is eroded and lining of the large intestine becomes inflamed, and ulcers develop. During passage of stool, ulcerations bleed and urge to defecate also increase in frequency. This disease affects the entire colon and rectum. In rare cases lower part of ileum may also be affected. Actual cause is unknown but many factors contribute to the disease. This disease is also an autoimmune disorder i.e., our own body immune system attack colon lining and later arthritis may develop. Family history of ulcerative colitis increases chance. Stress also is a main causative factor. Absorption of water and minerals from digested food is done by large intestine. When structural integrity of intestine is lost it impairs absorption. Mechanism of electrolyte balance, erythropoesis etc will be affected leading to anemia, weight loss and severe tiredness. Chronic ulcerative colitis increases chance of colonic cancer. In Ayurvedic literature Vathika grahani, Raktha and Pithathisara are related to this condition.
- Frequent defecation
- Mucous and blood with stool.
- Diarrhea or Constipation.
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain in the left side
- Joint pain
Causes according to ayurveda
- Excess water intake
- Meat which can’t be properly digested
- Dry food
- Incompatible food combinations.
- Suppression of natural urges
Pakwashaya or lower gastro intestinal tract is the normal site of Vatha humor.
Apana Vatha and Samana Vatha, two subdivisions of Vatha are important in this part of the body.
Functions of Apana Vatha and Samana Vatha:
1. Holding food for digestion
2. Help digestive fire in the process of digestion
3. Separation of digested food in to functional units
4. Assimilation of digested food and transportation of nutrients to other parts of body
5. Excretion of wastes of digestive process
Pachakagni and Ranjaka subdivisions of Pitha humor are also important here.
Functions of Pachakagni and Ranjaka :
1. Digestion with the support of Samana Vatha and Kledaka Kapha.
2. Conversion of ahara rasa or assimilated nutrients from gastro intestinal tract in to blood.
Kledaka Kapha, the subdivision of Kapha humor also has a role in the disease.
Functions of Kledaka Kapha
1. Convert food in to a digestible form
2. Protect gastro intestinal tract from destruction of digestive fire.
Concerted effort of Samana and Apana Vatha, Pachakagni and Ranjaka pitha and Kledaka kapha (subdivision of Kapha humor) are necessary for the digestion, assimilation, conversion of assimilated nutrients and protection of gastro intestinal tract. Prana vatha (the leader of Vatha subdivisions) control higher mental functions .It is capable of influencing other subdivisions of Vatha. During life with stress, prana vatha get provoked and affect functioning of Apana vatha and Samana vatha initiating pathogenesis of Ulcerative colitis.
Etiological factors and unhealthy food habits cause vitiation of Kapha , resulting in the loss of snigdhatha (Oiliness and mucous secretion) of intestines. Mucous thus eliminated will be present in the stool. Gradually loss of properties of Kapha leads to aggravation of Pitha humor .This initiate inflammatory changes and ulcerations. These changes result in bloody diarrhea. Long term advancement of the situation cause structural changes of intestinal walls leading to failure of absorption mechanism. Failure of absorption and impaired intestinal movement cause weakness, tiredness, weight loss, anemia etc.
- Preservation of health (Bala) – In chronic ulcerative colitis structural changes of intestinal lining cause the patient very weak. In such a situation primary importance should be for gaining normal health. Goat milk medicated with mustha (Cyperus rotundus) is a good option for this.
- Stimulation of appetite (Deepana) – When patient has less appetite, formulations with digestive fire stimulating property are used.
- Digestive or Pachana oushadha – Formulations that can directly digest ama are used when digestion is totally impaired.
- Vrana ropana(Healing of ulcers) – Drugs and formulations with wound healing properties. By administering such medicines, healing of ulcerations can be accelerated.
- Vathanulomana – Medicines like sesame oil or medicated oil helps Vatha to move in normal route. This relieves pain and tenesmus.
- Grahi – Medicines that are digestive and retain food are used. These formulations are useful where diarrhea and lack of appetite is present.
- Stambhana – Formulations that stop movement or elimination. When there is bloody diarrhea with normal appetite.
- Vasthi – Since lower gastro intestinal tract is the affected part .Vasthi is the most useful procedure.
Vasthi with medicated oil and sesame oil are very effective in relieving tenesmus and abdominal pain.
Vasthis containing mocha rasa (gum of Bombax malabaricum ) as kalka is called piccha vasthi. This type of vasthi is especially useful in relieving bloody diarrhoea and tenesmus. It also helps in healing of ulcerations.
- Good sleep
- Physical activities
- Yoga and meditation to maintain healthy peaceful mind.
- Healthy food habits such as wholesome food at right time, in right quantity, in right place when feeling hunger.
- Avoid spicy ,sweet and high fatty food
- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
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