OVERVIEW OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
WHAT IS ULCERATIVE COLITIS?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory disorder affecting the inner lining of the large intestine. Blood in the stool is the most common and distinct symptom of ulcerative colitis. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the small intestine except for the lower section, the ileum. The inflammation causes the colon to empty frequently, resulting in diarrhea. As cells on the surface of the lining of the colon die and slough off, ulcers (tiny open sores) form, causing pus, mucus, and bleeding.
An estimated 250,000 Americans have ulcerative colitis. It occurs most often in young people ages 15 to 40, although children and older people sometimes develop the disease. Ulcerative colitis affects males and females equally and appears to run in some families.
The most common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain and bloody diarrhea. Patients also may suffer from fever, nausea, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, rectal bleeding, and loss of body fluids and nutrients. Severe bleeding can lead to anemia. Sometimes patients also have skin lesions, joint pain, inflammation of the eyes, or liver disorders. Medical science provides little understanding of why problems outside the bowel are linked with colitis.
From a standard medical perspective, the cause of ulcerative colitis is not known and currently there is no cure. About half of patients have only mild symptoms. Only in rare cases, when complications occur, is the disease fatal. There may be remissions - periods when the symptoms go away - that last for months or even years. However, most patients' symptoms eventually return. This changing pattern of the disease can make it hard for the doctor to tell when treatment has helped.
Standard medical treatment for patients with mild or severe ulcerative colitis usually involves the medication. Despite new drug therapies, an estimated 20 to 25 percent of ulcerative colitis patients receive surgery because of massive bleeding, chronic debilitating illness, perforation of the colon, or risk of cancer. Sometimes the doctor will recommend removing the colon when medical treatment fails or the side effects of steroids or other drugs threaten the patient's health. While no special diet for ulcerative colitis is given, patients may be able to control mild symptoms simply by avoiding foods that seem to upset their intestine. In some cases, the doctor may advise avoiding highly seasoned foods or milk sugar (lactose) for a while.
The risk of colon cancer is greater than normal in patients with widespread ulcerative colitis. The risk may be as high as 32 times the normal rate in patients whose entire colon is involved, especially if the colitis exists for many years. (The above information comes from National Institutes of Health Publication No. 95-1597)
EDGAR CAYCE'S PERSPECTIVE OF ULCERATIVE COLITIS
Edgar Cayce gave numerous readings in which inflammation and ulceration of the colon was noted. Although the causes and treatment varied somewhat for each individual, one of the common themes was that many cases of ulcerative colitis can be traced back to viral infection (often intestinal flu) that has "settled" in the colon. The lymphatic system becomes disturbed due to the toxic build up in the colon. Thus the various systemic problems associated with ulcerative colitis (which baffle medical science) are traced to the toxins picked up and circulated throughout the body by the lymphatic system.
Here are a couple of excerpts from readings which describe the after effects of flu on the colon and lymphatic system:
"In this body we find there has been the after effect from a condition existent some time back, when there was an attack of what is commonly called flu. This at the time settled or produced greater inflammation through the alimentary canal, and the inflammation has caused the areas, through which lymph flows for the colon activity to have a form of colitis." (5091-1)
"These as we find arise from a condition that arose from intestinal flu, so that the activity of the lymph circulation through the alimentary canal causes a form of inflammation in the colon and in the lower portion of the jejunum. This inflammation is the source or the cause of the temperature that arises at times."(5057-1)
Another common pattern described by Edgar Cayce traces the cause of colitis to problems further up in the digestive system. For example, improper functioning of the stomach, small intestines or liver can produce a toxic load on the lower intestines. "Over acidity" was common in such instances.
"In the stomach itself proper we find there has been times, (no trace of it at present; not just at this time) where there has been produced from the over acidity produced in the duodenum, some signs of lacerations as have been produced in the body. Hence the body has that condition in the intestinal tract from this condition there, a catarrhal form, or coming in a colitis form, through the traverse colon. These we see hinder the action of the system itself in discharge of the foeces [feces?] from the system, for the hepatic circulation becoming low through such times, the lack of secretion is produced."
In other readings on colitis, the cause was linked to pressures on spinal nerves which govern the digestive system. Improper digestion and assimilation in the upper gastro-intestinal (GI) tract led to inflammation in the colon. Spinal adjustment (manual therapy) was usually included in the treatment plan in such instances.
"(Q) What will relieve the low blood pressure, colitis and the nerve exhaustion?
(A) As indicated. These arise from those subluxations in the dorsal area, you see. The congestion that arises from these, or the tendency to produce the irritation through the eliminating system or throughout the colon itself, arises from the sedimentary conditions or congestions in the lacteal duct and in the gall duct area." (846-1)
EDGAR CAYCE'S THERAPEUTIC MODEL
Whether the colitis was produced by flu virus or other factors, the treatment recommendations were consistent in emphasizing the need to address the whole digestive system as well as the colon itself. In other words, improving assimilation and elimination throughout the entire GI system is helpful in supporting the healing of the colon. Specific therapies for symptomatic relief are also included in the treatment recommendations:
- DIET: The Basic Cayce Diet is intended to improve assimilation and elimination. The diet focuses heavily on keeping a proper alkaline/acid balance while avoiding foods which produce toxicity and drain the system. Essentially, the diet consists mainly of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried foods and refined carbohydrates ("junk food"). Certain food combinations are emphasized.
- INTERNAL CLEANSING: Hydrotherapy includes drinking six to eight glasses of pure water daily and a cleansing diet of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- SPINAL MANIPULATION AND MASSAGE: Osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is recommended to relieve any pressures that may be hindering assimilation and elimination. If osteopathic or chiropractic treatment is not available, the use of an electric vibrator along the spine may be helpful.
- MEDICINE: A specific herbal formulation combining ginseng, ginger, lactated pepsin and stillingia has proven very effective in cases of chronic colitis. For persons experiencing diarrhea, another herbal remedy based on alum root is suggested. Beef juice taken as a medicine is recommended for persons who experience general fatigue and debilitation as a result of colitis.
- GRAPE THERAPY: The use of grapes in the diet and in abdominal packs may be helpful for individuals suffering from abdominal pain.
- ATTITUDES AND EMOTIONS: The mental and emotional aspects of healing are frequently discussed the Cayce readings. Particularly, an attitude of desiring and expecting to be healed is important. A positive mental and emotional attitude and can be created and maintained by focusing on a high purpose (ideal) for being healed.