Ulcerative colitis (UC) or acute and chronic colitis is a disease of the large intestine and is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation and may cause ulcers along the lining of the colon. there’s no certain cure for Ulcerative colitis, but you may start a treatment plan to reduce the severity of your symptoms. This will put a stop to the symptoms for the time being.
Ulcerative colitis may affect people of any age, but it usually starts affecting people starting from ages 15 and 30, or sometimes between ages 50 and 70. It may affect men and women equally, and in some cases, the cause may be genetic.
Traditional medication for this condition is following a standard protocol such as anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressive drugs. These medications tone down inflammatory responses. Medications may improve your symptoms and boost the quality of life, but it is a lifelong condition. You may experience certain symptoms such as diarrhea, bloody tools, and stomach pain. If you are looking for certain alternative therapies, then acupuncture is one of the options you can try.
Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis
The symptoms of colitis differ from person to person.
Common Ulcerative Colitis symptoms include:
● Abdominal pain
● Bloody stools
● Increased abdominal sounds
● Rectal pain
● Weight loss
Ulcerative colitis may show some additional symptoms such as:
● Joint pain
● Joint inflammation
● Nausea and reduced appetite
● Skin issues
● Mouth sores
● Eye inflammation
Researchers believe that ulcerative colitis is a result of an overactive immune system. The exact reason for the same is still not known and why some immune systems respond by attacking the large intestines and not others. Some of the risk factors that lead to ulcerative colitis or colon inflammation are as follows:
● Genes: You may inherit a gene and get the condition.
● Other immune disorders: Another type of auto-immune disorder may increase the risk.
● Environmental factors: Certain environmental factors such as bacteria, viruses, and antigens may affect the immune system.
What is acupuncture and How it can Impact Ulcerative Colitis
Acupuncture is a type of traditional Chinese medicine. This type of colitis treatment involves pricking or inserting small needles into specific points of the body at various depths.
Acupuncture treats a wide number of conditions. Some of these common conditions include back pain, depression, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. It also has the potential to treat labor pain and menstrual cramps.
The Impact of Acupuncture on Ulcerative Colitis
Acupuncture treatment is said to be a very effective therapy for ulcerative colitis as it has the power to stimulate the body’s natural painkillers. This helps your body control inflammation, and reduce the chances of contracting diseases and reduce pain associated with chronic colitis.
The chief aim of the therapy is to restore and encourage the flow of energy throughout the body. Correcting this imbalance can activate the healing process such as healing, promoting relaxation, and relieving pain.
There is no concrete proof to show that acupuncture and moxibustion (a type of heat therapy) can be used to complement the drug treatment. Other studies explored the option of using acupuncture and moxibustion therapy alone.
One requires more research to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture for acute colitis in improving bowel inflammation. Acupuncture is generally safe for chronic colitis symptoms and offers some great health benefits. You will know whether it works if you give it a try.
From a TCM perspective, ulcerative colitis is caused by constitutional deficiencies and some of the factors include invasion of the exterior pathogenic factors or an unhealthy diet. Constitutional deficiencies are an imbalance in spleen, stomach and kidney deficiencies. Invasion of exterior pathogenic factors can result in conditions such as damp-heat or damp-cold. An unbalanced diet such as high in raw foods or cold foods can impact the spleen and stomach by causing a change in the transporting of food and nutrients. A change of diet complemented by treatments including acupuncture for colitis can yield positive results.
The best acupuncture points to treat chronic colitis symptoms are as follows:
The point is located right at the level of the navel and it is 2 cun lateral to it. It is located halfway from the navel to the edge of the rectus abdominis muscle.
Zu San Li (ST36) is a great point for treating gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea and vomiting, and stress and fatigue. You can locate it Zu San Li (ST36) four finger widths down from the bottom of your knee cap, along the outer edge of your shin bone.
It is located on the anterior median line of the lower abdomen, 3 cun below the umbilicus. It treats diarrhea, prolapse of rectum, and dyspepsia.
It is located in the anterior aspect of the lower leg, 6 cun below ST 35, one finger-breadth (middle finger) right from the anterior crest of the tibia. It controls the intestines , Stomach and Spleen, alleviates dysentery and diarrhea and relieves pain.
The Conception Vessel 12 is also known as Ren 12, and is a potent point for everything related to digestion. It treats the symptoms of acute colitis such as bloating, gas, heartburn, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation and so on. It is located on the midline, 4 cun superior to the umbilicus.
It is located right under the medial condyle of the tibia, in the indentation posterior and inferior to the medial border of the tibia. Some of the symptoms that the acupuncture point can treat are as follows: abdominal distention, water swelling, jaundice, diarrhea, genital pain and so on.
San Yin Jiao (SP6) is located right inside of your leg, just above your ankle. To find this point you can locate the highest peak of the ankle then four finger widths up your leg, apply probing pressure slightly behind the bone (tibia). It is said to be an effective point to treat stomach pain.
It’s important, though, to discuss your expectations and try out different reasons for trying acupuncture and discuss the same with your doctor ahead of time. And yes, you cannot stop taking any of your conventional treatments for UC. Acupuncture is ideally an adjunctive therapy and not a replacement therapy. It is very important that you find one practitioner who has a good reputation and caters to your specific requirements. It can relieve pain, increase overall well-being and improve the symptoms of ulcerative colitis.