Patients living with ulcerative colitis (UC) may be pleased to learn that scientists are now researching the many possible health benefits of nicotine therapies in the management of the ailment’s symptoms. This autoimmune condition typically presents itself during the early stages as an inflammation of the intestinal tract which often results in some rather uncomfortable side effects, such as abdominal pain, chronic cramping, constipation, and diarrhea. 

As the condition progresses, patients often complain of feeling chronically fatigued, experiencing bursts of weight loss or decreased appetite, exhibiting persistent fevers, and even occurrences of rectal bleeding.  Chron’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and ulcers are also frequently associated with ulcerative colitis.  In children, the medical condition can even stymie physical growth and development.

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Doctors are unsure of exactly what precisely causes this medical disorder, and there are several different variations.  For example, “left-sided colitis” is experienced – you guessed it – only on the left side of the body.  Acute severe ulcerative colitis can be so debilitating that it becomes life-threatening, often taking the form of sharp bursts of excruciating pain that seemingly go on forever.

Fortunately, a recent report published in Medical News Today indicates that scientists may be on the verge of discovering to a natural remedy  – nicotine therapies.  Apparently, medical experts have been noticing over the years that patients suffering from ulcerative colitis tend to be non-smokers.  Non-smoking patients are also far more likely to be diagnosed with acute severe ulcerative colitis which usually requires invasive surgery at some point.  According to a 10-year study entitled Effect of smoking on the long-term course of ulcerative colitis, non-smokers diagnosed with UC  are also far more likely to require prescription steroids as part of their health management plan to prevent future flair ups.

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Of course, the medical community is in no way endorsing smoking as a cure for UC.  However, they are learning a great deal about the positive effects of nicotine along the way.  And while smoking “harms nearly every organ” in the human body according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nicotine inside those nasty combustible tobacco cigarettes is actually a naturally occurring chemical compound also found in tomatoes, eggplant, and potatoes.

While nicotine can be a good thing when ingested properly and under a doctor’s supervision, combustible tobacco cigarettes definitely are not.  The smoke produced from a conventional cigarette contains over 7,000 needless chemicals, about 1000 of which are highly addictive, and at least 150 known carcinogens. 

The alternatives to smoking as a health management plan for ulcerative colitis, according to today’s scientists, may include over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies like nicotine-enhanced patches, gums, and lozenges originally designed to help smokers quit.  An even better and less costly solution might also include nicotine-based vapor products where the nicotine strength can be managed and manipulated more easily based on the physicians’ recommendations and the severity of the patient’s ulcerative colitis symptoms.

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(Image courtesy of Medical News Today)