Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn
Frequency and characteristics of ulcerative colitis (UC)
UC tends to become more frequent in Western countries with an estimate of 12,000 cases in Switzerland in 2018. It is an autoimmune disease of multi factorial origin and close to Crohn’s disease which can reach entire digestive tract whereas UC is limited to the colon. Digestive signs are chronic diarrhea that is painful and mucous and bloody in nature. Patients are often fatigued and may also see arthritis type problems.
The goal of treatment is to space out attacks as much as possible by using immunosuppressants or anti-TNF agents or, if there is no response, janus kinase inhibitors. Attacks are treated with salicylic acid derivatives or oral or local corticosteroids.
Clinical studies on HBOT
- 2016: 32 consecutive patients improved significantly after 40 HBOT sessions. Histological examinations confirmed the improvement.
- 2018: A small, randomized study confirms that HBOT added to cortisone can prevent colostomies.
- 2020: in acute crisis who responded favorably to 3 days of HBO and cortisone were less likely to have a colectomy in the following 3 months.
- 2021: HBOT helps prevent surgical complications of bowel anastomosis in patients with colitis.
- 2021: HBOT improves the effect of steroids during hospitalization for an acute flare-up of UC and should decrease long-term disease-related complications.
- 2021: HBOT works by inhibiting inflammation and strengthening the antioxidant system. It promotes the differentiation of colonic stem cells and by recruiting cells involved in the repair and improves the intestinal biotope.
- 2022: HBOT reduces STAT3 neutrophil activity in UC patients and alters microbial composition and metabolism to improve colitis activity.
- 2022: A recent review and meta-analysis conclude that HBOT may be an effective and safe adjunctive treatment for UC and Crohn’s disease.
- 2023: Another meta-analysis affirms that HBOT can be considered as an adjunct treatment for ulcerative colitis flares requiring hospitalization and Crohn’s disease-related fistulas
- 2023: HBOT is a safe and potentially effective treatment option for fistula formation in Crohn’s disease.
Practical use of HBOT
Currently we recommend 40 to 60 sessions to obtain the best result.