Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis

What is Ulcerative Colitis?

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) which affects the lower intestine and rectum. It is sometimes confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), however IBD is different and is prone to be more serious if not effectively managed.

Those with Ulcerative Colitis suffer from frequent abdominal cramps and pains, and commonly experience bloody stools or a bleeding rectum. The extent and location of the disease determines the severity of the disease.

When the disease is limited to the rectum and the sigmoid colon, the stool may be normal or hard. Mucus and blood is discharged from the rectum during or between bowel movements. General symptoms of illness such as fever, are mild or absent.

If the disease extends further up the large intestine, the stool is looser and the person may have 10 to 20 bowel movements a day. They often, experience severe abdominal cramps and painful rectal spasms. There is no relief at night. The stool may be watery and contain pus, blood and mucous. The person may also have a fever and poor appetite.

UC can start at any stage though there are two peaks: those between 15 and 30 years, and again between 50 and 70 years.

If the condition is not effectively managed it can lead to complications, or the onset of more serious conditions.


"About six months ago I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis with symptoms of rectal bleeding and diarrhoea. I was prescribed the conventional treatment of anti - inflammatory tablets (Pentasa and later Asacol) and steroids (Prednisolone).

The steroids brought some alleviation but also caused side effects - aching legs, flaking skin and nasal catarrh. In addition the Asacol caused a considerable loss of hair.

I decided to seek out a herbal practitioner and got in touch with Amanda Cutbill who proved most helpful and sympathetic. The medication she has prescribed has proved truly beneficial in dealing with the colitis.

Amanda can definitely be recommended with confidence."

Dorothy H, Wirral


"I had been suffering with symptoms, of almost constant lower abdominal pain and passing blood, mucous and pus several times a day, for 6 months before I consulted Amanda.

The diagnosis of ulcerative colitis was confirmed by a colonoscopy. My GP prescribed Pentosa but unfortunately my symptoms continued.

Stress exacerbated the symptoms, which in turn increased my stress levels.

Amanda explained that the herbs would focus on reducing inflammation. Days after starting the herbal medicine my symptoms started to improve. Since starting the treatment I have passed no pus, blood only once, and the amount of mucous has reduced considerable.

I'm so pleased I decided try Herbal Medicine".

Alison M, Wirral.

Causes of Ulcerative Colitis

There is no definitive cause to UC, though it is generally accepted there is a genetic component. Several studies have been conducted which have identified certain chromosones, which indicate the predisposition to UC is hereditary. This is further supported by the fact that identical twins are much more likely to both contract UC than other siblings.

Stress is not thought to cause UC, however chronic stress can worsen the condition.

Conventional Treatments

A GP is most likely to prescribe drugs which will help reduce the inflammation, such as sulfalazide or balsalazide, often supplemented with oral corticosteroids. For those suffering from severe diarrhoea, some GPs will also prescribe drugs which are stronger than those available over the counter.

Herbal Medicine

Medical Herbalists focus on reducing the impact of UC, and can reduce the dependency on conventional drugs, which can have significant side effects. Advice encompassing a herbal prescription, diet, lifestyle and supplements will be given.


Certain foods will reduce the symptoms of UC, while others can have the opposite effect. A medical herbalist is likely to stress the importance of dietary changes and well as any herbal remedy in reducing the prevalence of flare ups.


Advice will be given based on scientific studies which have demonstrated that specific supplements have anti-inflammatory effects, reduce the incidence of lesions by 46% and can alleviate some of the detrimental effects of blood loss.


As mentioned, stress can be a contributory factor to aggravating the symptoms of UC. Hence, some patients benefit from mind-body therapies. A German study showed that UC sufferers who were subject to a programme of therapies, such as breathing and relaxation techniques, reported improvements when compared with a control group.

Additional Treatments

Finally, there are other complementary therapists that also report successfully treating those with UC, such as acupuncturists, and hence should also to be considered.

If you would like to discuss any aspect of herbal medicine in more depth please contact me on 07985 200805.