Compare Alternative Medicine vs. Western Medicine in Treating Ulcerative Colitis Research Paper

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Nutritional Therapies for Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a disease that causes an inflammation in the lower components of the digestive system -- specifically, in the colon and in the lining of the rectum. The inflammation of the colon requires it to frequently discharge, causing diarrhea. Ulcerative colitis is often accompanied by the forming of ulcers (sores in the rectum and in the colon's lining) that occur when inflammation has destroyed the cells that typically inhabit these areas, which then bleed and produce pus. Ulcerative colitis is immensely painful and initially manifests in people between the ages of 15 and 30 (National Digestive Diseases Clearinghouse, 2006).

Because ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (the common name for all conditions of inflammation in the small and large intestine), it is often difficult to diagnose and may be mistaken with other inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease. The most conclusive method of diagnosis is a colonoscopy or a sigmoidoscopy, medical procedures in which doctors insert an endoscope (which is essentially a camera connected to a computer and monitor) inside the anus to view the rectum and colon. Biopsies may also be taken during these procedures to obtain samples of the tissue lining the colon. Barium enemas and CT scans can also confirm the presence of ulcerative colitis.

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Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, the loss of nutrients and body fluids, rectal bleeding, skin lesions, and a host of other conditions that widely vary for each patient. Although there are several methods for treating this condition involving traditional Western as well as alternative medicinal practices of nutritional therapy, at present there is no cure. Ulcerative colitis has been linked to immune system deficiencies, but as of yet there is no unified consensus as to what causes it.

Research Paper on Compare Alternative Medicine vs. Western Medicine in Treating Ulcerative Colitis Assignment

The traditional western perspective of nutritional therapy is fairly general. Most western practitioners recommend a strict adherence to the balancing of meals, which is achieved by eating appropriate levels of food from the four food groups. Meal size is generally expected to be decreased, while a regular interval of hours between eating is encouraged to allow for as many as five small meals each day. Fried and greasy foods are to be avoided, since they are known to cause flatulence as well as diarrhea, both of which are common symptoms of ulcerative colitis. Western medicinal practitioners also discourage foods high in fiber such as corn, nuts and seeds, as they may induce cramping and are often not entirely digested by the time they reach the small intestine, making them susceptible to induce diarrhea (Life Extension, 2011). Other general nutritional therapy guidelines include the avoidance of diary for lactose intolerance patients, which is a proclivity most lactose intolerable patients already have.

One of the primary reasons traditional western nutritional therapy is decidedly general is that its practitioners heavily emphasize the use of drug therapy and surgery as options for ulcerative colitis treatment. Diets are primarily monitored and mandated according to the preceding guidelines because they are considered to make the body more receptive to a host of narcotic treatments to cope with the effects of this disease. Common drug types (which are listed in order of potency) that are the preferred method of counteracting ulcerative colitis in western medicine include aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, and immunomodulators -- despite their well-known tendency to produce significant side effects. Proctocolectomy, the surgical removal of the colon and the rectum, is encouraged as well as nutritional support methods such as enteral nutrition, a procedure in which nutrient rich liquids are fed into the body overnight.

Nutritional therapy for alternative medicinal practices, however, generally treat the body holistically as a unified, interlocking form of various systems intrinsically dependant on each another. In addition to addressing the symptoms of ulcerative… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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