Hemorrhagic rectocolitis is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (or IBD). IBD is a group of diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract.
What is RH?
This severe inflammation produces tiny sores, called ulcers, on the wall of the colon. In fact, the inflammation usually starts in the rectum and spreads upwards. However, it can affect the whole colon. Hemorrhagic rectocolitis causes the intestine to move its contents very quickly and to empty frequently. In addition, the death of cells on the surface of the intestinal lining leads to the formation of ulcers. This can lead to bleeding and discharge of mucus and pus. Although the condition affects people of all ages, most people develop UC between the ages of 15 and 30. After the age of 50, there is another slight increase in IBD diagnoses, usually in men.
Do we know the causes of RH?
Unfortunately, the exact cause of ulcerative colitis remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected. Doctors now know that these factors can make the disease worse, but are not the cause. One possible cause is a malfunctioning immune system. In fact, when the immune system tries to fight an invading virus or bacteria, an abnormal immune response causes the same system to attack the cells in the digestive tract as well. Heredity also seems to play a role in that RH is more common in people who have family members with the disease. However, most people affected by the condition have no family history.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of RH can vary, depending on the severity of the inflammation and where it occurs. In brief, signs of the disease may include:
Diarrhoea, often mixed with blood or pus Abdominal pain and cramps Rectal pain Rectal bleeding – discharge of a small amount of blood with the stool Urgency to defecate Inability to defecate despite urgency Weight loss Fatigue Fever In children, growth retardation
Other symptoms of ulcerative colitis include
Joint pain Swelling of the joints Nausea and loss of appetite Skin problems Mouth sores Inflammation of the eyes
However, most people with ulcerative colitis have mild to moderate symptoms. What’s more, the course of ulcerative colitis can vary. Indeed, some people experience long periods of remission.
What are the risk factors?
Ulcerative colitis affects about the same number of women and men. Risk factors may include: Age: The disease usually starts before the age of 30. However, it can occur at any age, and some people may not develop the disease until they are over 60. Race/ethnicity: Caucasians are 2-5 times more likely to get ulcerative colitis than blacks or Asians. At the same time, the Jewish community (Ashkenazi Jews) is 4 to 5 times more affected by the disease than other groups. Family history: The risk is higher when a close relative, a sibling or a child has the disease.
What are the possible complications of the disease?
Possible complications of rectocolitis are
Heavy bleeding Perforation of the colon Severe dehydration Bone loss (osteoporosis) Inflammation of the skin, joints and eyes Increased risk of colon cancer Rapid swelling of the colon Increased risk of blood clots
in the veins and arteries
Natural solutions to adopt quickly
Although natural remedies cannot cure UC, they can help relieve symptoms and prevent attacks.
What is the role of probiotics?
A 2019 study examined how people with UC responded to the use of probiotics. In fact, researchers found that 57% of those who took probiotics reported an overall positive experience. In addition, 50% of respondents noted an improvement in their symptoms, including stool frequency and texture.
Do herbs have a place in HR management?
A 2019 study highlighted several natural substances that may reduce UC symptoms, including:
serrata gum resin Indeed, the authors suggest that specific compounds in these herbal remedies support immune activity and provide antioxidants that reduce inflammation. However, the study does not recommend any of these substances as a stand-alone treatment. It is therefore important to emphasise that people with UC should use them as a complementary treatment to traditional medicines.
SOURCES: https://www.ameli.fr/assure/sante/themes/rectocolite-hemorragique https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4511685/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3273725/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7066192/ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213434418301075 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6540767/