is an inflammation of the colon or large intestine. There are two types of colitis
and ulceratie. Mucus colitis
is a common disorder of the large bowel, producing discomfort and
irregular bowel habits. Chronic ulcerative colitis
is a severe prolonged inflammation of the colon
or large bowel in which ulcers form on the walls of the colon, resulting in the passing of blood
stools with pus and mucus. Both forms of colitis
are the results of prolonged irritation of the
delicate membrane which lines the walls of the colon.
Normally, it is the function of the colon to store waste material until most of the fluids have been
removed to enable well-formed soft stools, consisting of non-absorbable food materials to be
passed. Persons who suffer from an irritable colon have irregular and erratic contractions which
are specially noticeable on the left side.
Chronic ulcerative colitis
usually begins in the lower part of the bowels and spreads upwards.
The first symptom of the trouble is an increased urgency to move the bowel, followed by
cramping pains in the abdomen and bloody mucus in the stools. As the disease spreads
upwards, the stools become watery and more frequent and are characterised by rectal straining.
All this loss of blood and fluid from the bowels results in weakness, fever, nausea, vomiting, loss
of appetite and anaemia
The patient may develop a bloated feeling because the gas is not absorbed or expelled
normally. Some patients suffer from constipation
alternating with period of loose bowel
movements. Still others may suffer from a persistent diarrhoea
for years together. The patient is
usually malnourished and may be severely underweight. He may suffer from frequent insomnia
in its severe form may also lead to nutritional problems. The improper
assimilation of the ingested foods due to inflammatory conditions may cause deficiency
diseases. This may gradually result in nervous irritability, exhaustion and depression
. In very
severe cases, the patient may even develop suicidal tendencies.
The main cause of colitis
is chronic constipation
and the use of purgatives. Constipation
an accumulation of the hard faecal matter which is never properly evacuated. Purgatives used
as a `cure' only increase irritation. Often, colitis
is caused by a poorly digested roughage,
especially of cereals and carbohydrates, which causes bowel irritation. The disease may also
result from an allergic sensitivity to certain foods especially milk, wheat and eggs. Often, the
intake of antibiotics may upset the bacterial flora in the intestines and interfere with proper
may also produce ulcerative colitis
. During any form of severe stress
of adrenal hormones causes such destruction of body protein that at times parts of the walls
lining the intestines are literally eaten away. Such stress
also depletes the body of pantothenic
acid. Experiments on animals have shown that they can develop ulcerative colitis
when they are
kept on diets deficient in pantothenic acid.
The usual treatment of colitis
with suppressive drugs is based on the assumption that colitis
due to germ infection
, which it is not. The suppressive drugs drive back into the system the toxic
matter in the colon which nature is endeavouring to eliminate in the form of mucus. They
suppress the symptoms
temporarily, without removing the cause. In such cases, the symptoms
recur and colitis
becomes chronic. Plain warm water or warm water with a little olive oil used as
a wash-out is the only method of softening and removing the accumulations of hardened matter
sticking to the walls of the colon.
Diet plays an important part in the treatment of colitis
. It is advisable to observe a juice fast for
five days or so in most cases of ulcerative colitis
. The juices may be diluted with a little boiled
water. Papaya juice, raw cabbage and carrot juices will be especially beneficial. Citrus juices
should be avoided. The bowel should be cleansed daily with a warm water enema.
After the juice fast, the patient should gradually adopt a diet of small, frequent meals of soft
cooked or steamed vegetables, rice, dalia (coarsely broken wheat), well ripened fruits like
banana and papaya, yogurt and home-made cottage cheese. Sprouted seeds and grains, whole
meal bread and raw vegetables may be added gradually to this diet after about 10 days. All food
must be eaten slowly and chewed thoroughly.
Foods which should be excluded from the diet are white sugar, white bread and white flour
products, highly seasoned foods, highly salted foods,strong tea, coffee and alcoholic beverages
and foods cooked in aluminium pans.
Ripe bananas are highly beneficial in the treatment of ulcerative colitis
, being bland, smooth,
easily digested and slightly laxative. They relieve acute symptoms
and promote the healing
An effective remedy for ulcerative colitis
is the use of butter- milk. It is the residual milk left after
the fat has been removed from yogurt by churning. Buttermilk enema twice a week is also
soothing and helps in re-installing a healthy flora in the colon.
Another valuable remedy for colitis
is tender coconut water, it is soothing to the soft mucosa
the colon. Cooked apple also aids
the healing of ulcerative conditions because of its ample
concentration of iron and phosphorous.
The patient should have a bowel movement at the same time each day and spend 10 to 15
minutes in the endeavour. Straining at stools should be avoided. Drinking two glasses of water
the first thing in the morning will stimulate a normal bowel movement. An enema may be used if
no bowel movement occurs.
Complete bed rest and plenty of liquids are very important. The patient should eliminate all
causes of tension, adjust to his disability and face his discomfort with patience.