Healthy Living

The Surprising Relationship Between Smoking and Ulcerative Colitis

The new research behind smoking and ulcerative colitis

New studies found that smokers with the condition have fewer flare-ups. These flare-ups were reported to be much less severe than those of nonsmokers

Ulcerative colitis produces sores and inflammation to the large intestines. It can cause severe diarrhea, stomach cramps, and bleeding. The traditional treatment consists of a combination of anti-inflammatory drugs and immune suppressors. Other medications are used to keep the patient comfortable. Pain relievers, anti-diarrheal, and antibiotics could be used, for example. These medications require adherence in order to put the disease in remission. Patients are asked to follow a special diet and avoid risk factors that could lead to a flare up.

So what does smoking have to do with it? There are several types of bacteria and organisms that live in the intestines. The mix of these microbes plays a key role in overall health. Thanks to advances in science, they can now be examined in great detail. They have concluded that for some reason, the effects of tobacco smoke calm the microbes in ulcerative colitis patients. If a patient with the condition were to quit smoking, the outcome is risky.