Modern medicine offers few options for the treatment of ulcerative colitis, the most definitive being removing the colon itself. Because ulcerative colitis can be such a damaging disease to the body's lower digestive tract, as many as 50 percent of patients experiment with alternative therapies to treat it. One route many patients try is fasting, which some alternative medicine practitioners claim detoxifies the colon and other digestive organs and allows them to heal.
Things You'll Need
- Vegetable and fruit juices
- Primary care physician
Talk to your primary care physician. If you've not had success with other treatments for ulcerative colitis, your doctor will likely understand why you want to give fasting a try. He or she can clear you for the practice or tell you if you have a condition that prevents fasting, and he or she can advise you on how to fast with minimal negative consequences for your health.
Ask about drugs and other supplements. While talking to your doctor, discuss the prescriptions and other supplements you are taking and how they may affect your fast. Certain drugs for ulcerative colitis, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, aid in digestion and may not be necessary if you're not eating, but talk to your doctor and ask which you should continue taking.
Start by drinking fruit or vegetable juices while eliminating all other foods and drinks. Some people may find it difficult to dive into a water fast right away.
Drink water. The most important thing you can do in a fast is to stay hydrated. Fasting proponents claim water flushes toxins from your body, so if you fail to drink enough, you're not getting all the benefits from your fast. And every health practitioner agrees that hydration is important for the body's basic functions. There's no hard and fast rules about how much water you should drink--just consume enough to keep you from feeling thirsty.
Listen to your body. Feeling a little tired while fasting is normal--after all, your body isn't getting the same energy supply it usually does. If you start feeling ill or very weak, however, that may be a sign that your body needs food. Try eating something small and easily digestible and see if you feel better, then talk to your doctor.
Break your fast. Alternative medicine practitioners advise fasting for as short a time as possible but long enough to see improvement in your condition. Mainstream doctors, even if they consider fasting to be unnecessary, agree that a short-term fast of only a few days will not be harmful. If fasting for the first time, try ending your fast after three days. Add juices and easily digested foods into your diet and slowly work up to your regular eating patterns.
Tips & Warnings
- Whether or not you see improvement in your ulcerative colitis symptoms as a result of fasting, you may want to consider other alternative therapies. Prebiotics, probiotics, fish oil, aloe vera and acupuncture are all alternative therapies that have shown some promise and are held to be relatively safe by mainstream medicine practitioners.
- Fasting is not a cure for any disease. Physicians who recommend fasting generally agree that fasting may give the bowels time to heal but does not cure an underlying cause of ulcerative colitis.
- Discussing alternative therapies like fasting can be an awkward conversation, especially if you have a more traditional general practitioner. Keep in mind that some people should not fast because of certain medical conditions.
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