Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids can prevent and treat ulcerative colitis symptoms

Fish oil omega-3 fatty acids can prevent and treat ulcerative colitis symptoms

Ulcerative colitis symptoms are triggered by a chronic, episodic, inflammatory disease of the large intestine and rectum characterized by bloody diarrhea. The cause of this disease is unknown. It may affect any age group, although there are peaks at ages 15 to 30 and then again at ages 50 to 70.

The disease usually begins in the rectal area and may eventually extend through the entire large intestine. Repeated episodes of inflammation lead to thickening of the wall of the intestine and rectum with scar tissue. Death of colon tissue or sepsis may occur with severe disease.

The ulcerative colitis symptoms vary in severity and their onset may be gradual or sudden. Attacks may be provoked by many factors, including respiratory infections or stress.

Risk factors include a family history of ulcerative colitis or Jewish ancestry. The incidence is 10 to 15 out of 100,000 people.

Ulcerative colitis symptoms

  • Diarrhea, from only a few episodes to very frequently throughout the day (blood and mucus may be present)
  • Abdominal pain and cramping that usually subsides after a bowel movement
  • Abdominal sounds (borborygmus, a gurgling or splashing sound heard over the intestine)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Foul-smelling stools
  • Tenesmus
  • Jaundice

Additional ulcerative colitis symptoms include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding

Treatment for ulcerative colitis symptoms

The goals of treatment are to control the acute attacks, prevent recurrent attacks, and promote healing of the colon.

Hospitalization is often required for severe attacks. Corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation.

Medications that may be used to decrease the frequency of attacks include 5-aminosalicylates such as mesalamine and immunomodulators such as azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine.

Surgery to remove the colon will cure the ulcerative colitis symptoms and removes the threat of colon cancer. Patients may need an ostomy or an ileal pouch-anal anastomosis, a procedure that connects the small intestine to the anus to help the patient gain more normal bowel function.

The course of the disease generally varies, with remissions and exacerbations over a period of years. Sometimes ulcerative colitis can be a fulminant (quickly progressing) disease. A permanent and complete cure is unusual. The risk of colon cancer increases in each decade after ulcerative colitis is diagnosed.

Prevention of ulcerative colitis symptoms

Because the cause is unknown, medical prevention is also unknown. However, published clinical studies indicate that fish oil omega-3 fatty acids exert anti-inflammatory effects on patients with ulcerative colitis. The results suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may act as free radical scavengers protecting the patients against the overall effect of oxidative stress.

Prevent and treat ulcerative colitis symptoms with an appropriate fish oil supplement


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