Ulcerative Colitis and Functional Medicine
Effect of Functional Medicine on Ulcerative Colitis
Functional Medicine is based on the practice of medicine in which the practitioner focus on the underlying causes of the chronic disease (by way of the “core clinical imbalances” recognized by the field) instead of merely looking to treat the symptoms. As discussed earlier however, since there is no one cause for ulcerative colitis, the purpose of any physician would be to look at the underlying causes that increase the inflammation in particular. Of the core imbalances, inflammation clearly plays a key role in the symptomatology of ulcerative colitis. (Additional important imbalances to address with an FM practitioner would include: Digestive, detoxification, and oxidation-reduction.)
A Functional Medicine practitioner would recognize the biochemical individuality of each patient and help analyze how this individuality might play a role in the personal manifestations of the disease. Also, they should consider the dynamic balance of internal (physiological) and external (environmental) factors. FM practitioners understand that the inner workings of the bodily systems are interconnected in nature and that changing facets of diet for example, can correct hormonal disturbances or that getting rid of environmental toxins can lessen the over active immune response. Perhaps most importantly, a Functional Medicine practitioner will acknowledge multiple ways of healing, and can help support the work of other integrative practitioners in the treatment of Ulcerative Colitis.1
Types of Professionals That Would Be Involved with This Treatment
Any MDs can choose to go through training that will teach them about practicing functional Medicine.
In the Functional Medicine Model, it is suggested that a non-toxic dentist be part of an efficient chronic care team. This simply indicates a dentist who recognizes that both the removal of environmental toxins plays a part in dental hygiene, and that the “mouth flora,” similar in essence to the gut flora, is so important to the integrative treatment of ulcerative colitis.
Finding a compounding pharmacist and/or herbalist with a working knowledge of all that is available to aid you in your healing journey is also suggested by the Institute for Functional Medicine (Jones, 2010). A compounding pharmacist can mix custom medications to fit a specific patient's needs.
- The Institute for Function Medicine (2010). What is Functional Medicine? Retrieved on April 1, 2010 from http://www.functionalmedicine.org/about/whatis.asp