Recent research has found that patients with ulcerative colitis have lower levels of a specific type of friendly bacteria (probiotics).
Ulcerative colitis affects 50,000 people in the UK. The disease creates ulcers in the lining of the large intestine, causing pain, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.
Could transform treatment
The current treatment for the condition is to give patients anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids to reduce symptoms. However, these can have unpleasant side-effects. If patients do not respond to drugs they may have to have surgery to remove the ulcer.
The new findings could transform the treatment of ulcerative colitis patients.
Researchers gave colitis patients a synbiotic—a combination of a specific probiotic and carbohydrates—before breakfast and after dinner every day for a month. Results showed the treatment reduced bowel inflammation and reduced the pain and discomfort experienced by patients. Also, over the course of the two year study patients showed no adverse side-effects.
The researchers are now planning to test the treatment on a larger number of subjects.