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Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis is a chronic condition of the colon and rectum, in which inflammation occurs along with ulceration; according to conventional medicine it is incurable. Diagnosis is usually by means of colonoscopy and mucosal biopsy. Initial treatment for flare-ups is usually administration of steroids such as prednisolone.

One of the current theories regarding Ulcerative Colitis revolves around a particular immune system cytokine, IL-17. This cytokine was only discovered in 2006, but is found in almost all autoimmune pathologies or diseases. We have known for some time that some probiotic bacteria can help reduce the severity of the inflammation in many cases of UC, without really knowing the specific mechanism. Now it appears that researchers in Japan have discovered a potential explanation. IL-17 is a very potent pro-inflammatory cytokine, that is it causes inflammation. When it is over produced in the colon, a chronic inflammatory condition can result. Administration of Bifidobacteria inhibited IL-17 production by producing IL-10, another cytokine which has a ‘cancelling’ effect on IL-17.

More Information about Colitis

Symptoms

The hallmark symptom is blood and mucus in the stools, along with abdominal pain, frequent bowel movements and diarrhoea. Patients may also experience;

Fatigue
Weight loss
Loss of appetite
Rectal bleeding
Loss of body fluids and nutrients

Research and Medical tests

No single test is sufficient to diagnose this condition, and sufferers are often put through an endless round of endoscopic, radiological and histological assessments, laboratory testing and bowel studies in order to come up with a definitive diagnosis.