Even though there is little scientific proof that it works, many people with consider nontraditional or complementary medicine in addition to prescription medicines. They may turn to these alternatives because there is no complete cure other than removal of the colon. Other reasons for seeking complementary medicine include:
- Coping with the difficult side effects from standard medicines.
- Dealing with the emotional strain caused by chronic disease.
- Dealing with the negative impact that severe disease has on daily life.
Other Treatment Choices
Several studies have shown that the nicotine patch may help treat active ulcerative colitis. It is not yet known how long the benefits of the nicotine patch last or if the patch can help prevent flare-ups of ulcerative colitis. If the patch works, it most likely benefits people whose symptoms began or became worse after quitting smoking. But due to the addictive power and other harmful effects of nicotine, most doctors still prefer to use traditional medicines to treat ulcerative colitis before trying the nicotine patch.
The various complementarytherapies include:
- Special diets or nutritional supplements, such as probiotics.
- Fatty acids found in oily fish, such as salmon and tuna.
- Vitamin supplements, such as vitamins D and B12.
- Herbs, such as aloe and ginseng.
- Stimulation of the feet, hands, and ears to try to affect parts of the body (reflexology).
- Chiropractic therapy.
Probiotics and fatty acids are the most promisingcomplementary therapies being studied for ulcerative colitis. But there isstill not much known about their value. As with any treatment, talk with yourdoctor before using complementary medicines or therapies.
What To Think About
You may want to seek professional counseling or social support from family, friends, or clergy. Ulcerative colitis can affect every aspect of your life.