Gluten-Free Diet: Is It Good for Ulcerative Colitis?
Have you ever heard about ulcerative colitis? This disease is often related to the gluten-free diet. Some people believe that this kind of diet is able to relieve ulcerative colitis. Is it true? Is a gluten-free diet good for ulcerative colitis?
What is Exactly Ulcerative Colitis?
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation in the large intestines or colon and in the end of colon that is connected to the anus or rectum. This condition is often characterized by continuous diarrhea, accompanied by blood or pus in the feces. Ulcerative colitis usually starts from the formation of a wound in the rectum, then spreads upwards. Wounds in the large intestine cause the sufferer to defecate more frequently and the feces that come out accompanied by blood or pus. The right treatment and medication can help to relieve the symptoms and prevent the disease from recurring.
Causes of Ulcerative Colitis
The causes of ulcerative colitis are not certainly known yet. However, this disease is expected to be triggered by immune system response that mistakenly attacks healthy cells in the digestive tract. This condition causes inflammation and sores in the walls of the large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is also believed to be triggered by environmental factors, such as viral infections or stress.
Gluten-Free Diet for Ulcerative Colitis
According to a study from the University of North Carolina, almost one out of 5 people with ulcerative colitis tries the gluten-free diet. Among those who try the diet, two third report improved symptoms, and 38 percent report fewer or less severe symptoms. This was the biggest study about the gluten-free diet in patients with ulcerative colitis. This study involves 1,647 participants in total. Among these participants, 314 people had tried the gluten-free diet and 135 people or 9 percent of the participants continued to follow the diet.
The data was taken from a bigger internet-based study that involves 15.000 patients collected by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. So, it can be said that the gluten-free diet works pretty good for people with ulcerative colitis. But this kind of diet only relieves the symptoms instead of healing the disease itself. So, it will be better if you consult the doctor first to know the right medication and figure out whether the gluten-free diet is the right diet or not.
The inflammation happens only in the inner layer of the intestine lining. It usually starts in rectum. But it can keep spread to the whole colon.
Gluten is a kind of protein contained in barley, wheat, and flour. You can try to consume gluten-free foods or use gluten-free food products to cook your meal. There are a lot of gluten-free food products sold in the market today. Check the label and package to find out whether the products are gluten-free or not. Gluten-free products are usually labeled with GFCO certification or Gluten Free Certification Organization. Make sure the product does not contain any additive ingredients as well.