Do you suffer from stomach pain, cramps, and frequent bouts of diarrhea? If the answer is yes, you may have ulcerative colitis. These symptoms can turn severe, and even interfere with your daily routine.
Ulcerative colitis is the inflammation and development of sores in the lining of the large intestine. It can affect the lower portion of the colon, or the entire colon in some cases. No one knows exactly what causes ulcerative colitis, but we do know that the symptoms can be more than troublesome.
Fortunately, researchers have found that the ancient Hindu practice of yoga could help soothe your digestive troubles.
How Could Yoga Combat Ulcerative Colitis?
Yoga is a spiritual discipline that includes control of your breathing, simple meditation, and specific bodily postures. It’s widely practiced across the globe. And, it’s known for its health and relaxation benefits, which include lowering perceived stress among its followers.
A recent study published in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics observed ulcerative colitis patients that were in clinical remission but suffering from a reduced quality of life due to the condition. Participants were assigned to either 12 weekly, 90-minute yoga sessions or written self-care advice. Following assessments at 12 and 24 weeks, researchers found that the yoga set reported a much higher quality of life than those who were merely given written advice.
Many ulcerative colitis patients are prescribed medications that contain steroids, or that reduce the body’s immune response. So, yoga is a great option for those who prefer a more natural remedy.
Yoga as a Complementary Therapy
While yoga cannot be used alone to treat this condition, researchers suggest that it can be helpful when used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. Regularly participating in yoga can help create a multimodal, integrative approach for patients, which takes individual differences into account to decrease their frequent discomfort.
Making slight dietary changes can also help reduce your symptoms. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and refined sugars, and replace them with healthier, whole foods like bread, fruits, vegetables, and fish. So, instead of your morning espresso, try having a glass of soy or almond milk.
Ulcerative colitis can become severe enough to disrupt your daily routine, so it’s important to try your best to control it. Doing yoga in addition to therapy recommended by your doctor, and paying close attention to your diet, could help reduce your symptoms and soothe some of your discomfort.
“Ulcerative Colitis,” WebMD; http://www.webmd.com/ibd-crohns-disease/ulcerative-colitis/ulcerative-colitis-topic-overview#2, last accessed April 20, 2017.
“Randomised clinical trial: yoga vs. written self-care advice for ulcerative colitis,” Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Wiley Online Library, March 2017; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/apt.14062/full, last accessed April 201, 2017.