...in ulcerative colitis

UC

Ulcerative colitis affects the lower parts of the digestive system (shaded in red in this diagram). One reason why diet in UC is controversial is that some doctors argue that because digestion takes place mainly in the small bowel and inflammation in UC is limited to the large bowel (colon), then the two are unrelated. 

It is true that the large bowel does not play a major role in the absorption of foods and nutrients. It does however play a significant role in the absorption of water, potassium and some fat-soluble vitamins as well as providing the location for ‘good’ bacteria to breakdown fibre. 

During an acute flare the capacity of the large bowel to absorb water is usually severely reduced. The combination of reduced water absorption, reduced number and quality of ‘good’ bacteria, and incomplete fermentation of fibre leads to an increase in gas production and more rapid bowel movements, which in turn, result in diarrhoea, bloating and pain. 

We believe this to be why modification of diet can be extremely helpful in the management of UC

© Jonathan Wade 2014