The Surprising Relationship Between Smoking and Ulcerative Colitis
Cigarettes are becoming a thing of the past. Smoking in public has been banned in restaurants and several public places. Many states are considering raising the smoking age to 21, and some already have. It is a public hazard that affects both smokers and non-smokers alike. There are obviously no health benefits to smoking; how could there be with all the toxic chemicals cigarettes contain? However, scientists believe there may be an exception. Evidence in past research has shown positive ties between smoking and ulcerative colitis, and scientists think they now understand why this occurs.
The study is causing a big debate as researchers try to answer a question we never thought we’d hear: Are these patients better off if they continue smoking?
Smoking is now mostly banned in public places, and many states are also considering raising the age of smoking to 21 years. Smoking, as we know, is dangerously hazardous to one’s health in many ways, and it does not benefit the body in at all. Smoking is usually seen as a way to release stress, so people often prefer this temporary escape from their anxieties. Cigarettes are known to cause damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs. Those who suffer from Crohn’s disease are well aware of the dangerous effects smoking can have on this condition; smoking while also dealing with Crohn’s is not a healthy or sustainable lifestyle. It is known to worsen the condition, even if the individual is only a passive smoker.
In one of the newer studies, it was observed that those who have ulcerative colitis and smoke tend to have fewer symptom flare ups than the ones who do not smoke. Ulcerative colitis leads to inflammation and sores in the intestines, due to which there are multiple symptoms that crop up and disrupt one’s daily life, such as diarrhea, bleeding, and cramps in the stomach. There are multiple methods the doctor can use to treat ulcerative colitis. Now, though, the question arises as to the role smoking plays in this medical disease. There are multiple organisms and bacteria which thrive in our intestines, and a mix of these microbes play a vital role for the overall health of the body. In one study, it was seen that the effects of the smoke from the tobacco calmed the microbes down in patients with ulcerative colitis. But if an individual with this illness decided to quit smoking, the outcome of this action may turn out to be quite risky for them.
Another popular method of smoking claiming to be the safe is e-cigarettes. They are considered to be the healthier version of smoking. These are known to run on batteries, and some of them almost look like plastic cigarettes; a few of them even look fancy and resemble a pen. These cigarettes are known to contain nicotine, but produce water vapor rather than the usual harmful carcinogens that are otherwise present in the typical rolled cigarettes. But the question again arises as to how safe these battery operated cigarettes are. In one such study, researchers addressed one of the more common concerns posed by these e-cigarettes, which is whether or not their secondhand risk of vapor is as equally harmful as that of cigarette smoke.
Even though smoking does not seem to be harmful for patients with ulcerative colitis, doctors still would not recommend it for everyone, and not as a first line of treatment. But the surprising truth is that smoking does provide some level of protection against symptom flare ups. In the meantime, there is still research going on to find newer, safer ways of reducing these symptoms. The ultimate goal is to find something that will prove to be beneficial overall to the patient.