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New study: Nicotine replacement therapies like vaping may ease ulcerative colitis

New research is surfacing that indicates sufferers of an inflammatory bowel disease called ulcerative colitis (UC) may relieve many of the related symptoms thru nicotine replacement therapies like vaping.  This digestive disorder affects the inner linings of the colon, rectum, and intestinal tract which often results in the formation of sores or ulcers.

Symptoms typically develop rather gradually over time, and if left unattended, the disease can eventually become debilitating and potentially life-threatening. While the medical community has yet to discover a cure, studies now indicate that nicotine therapies show great promise in reducing the severity of associated symptoms.  According to a report in Medical News Today, the treatment may even bring about long-term remission. Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include the following.

  • Diarrhea, often containing blood in the stool
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Rectal pain
  • Increased desire and frequency to defecate
  • Inability to defecate despite an urgent desire
  • Abdominal discomfort and cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent fevers
  • May reduce a child’s ability to grow properly

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Scientists have been noticing for years that the diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is more likely to occur in non-smoking patients than in smokers.  Non-smokers are far more likely to require the use of prescription steroids to ward off more severe systematic relapses, and they are also more likely to require surgical procedures along the way.  Smokers, on the other hand, tend to be diagnosed with more positive long-term prognosis overall.

Non-smokers at higher risk of ulcerative colitis

Even though smoking tends to help regulate a UC patient’s health, physicians would never want to recommend smoking as a medical therapy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking "harms nearly every organ" in the human body.  But the fact that the nicotine in combustible cigarettes is determined to be a potentially potent treatment for UC sufferers, this likely factor is leading scientists into new areas of research s regarding nicotine therapies – regardless of whether the patient is a smoker or not.

Furthermore, cigarette smoke unleashes at least 150 different carcinogens and other toxins on the human body.  Scientists are not yet aware of the reasons why nicotine therapies are helping relieve symptoms in UC patients, but they suspect it has something to do with a perceived boost in the body’s immunity system induced by the ingested nicotine.  The results of a ten-year study starting in 1998 and ending last year suggest that nicotine and certain dioxins associated with both combustible tobacco and alternative therapies may produce several immunomodulatory effects.

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