Alternative Crohn's Treatment:

Crohn's disorder (CD) is a chronic condition characterized by patchy areas of inflammation and ulcers (open sores) along the innermost layer of the digestive tract. Such lesions can develop anywhere from the mouth to anus, but the majority of cases involve the small intestine or the first part of the large intestine. Between these patches of inflammation and ulceration there remain stretches of normal, healthy tissue.

CD is closely related to a similar condition known as ulcerative colitis (UC). Both CD and UC are considered inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). CD affects between 2 and 7 out of 100,000 people and researchers believe that these numbers are growing. CD develops mostly between the ages of 15 and 40, although children and older adults may also develop the condition. People of Jewish heritage are up to six times more likely to develop CD than are people in the general population. Although medication and strict diets can reduce the inflammation of CD, most people with the condition will require surgery to remove part of the digestive tract at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, however, surgery does not completely cure or eradicate the disease.

Signs And Symptoms

The most common signs and symptoms of CD are diarrhea and abdominal pain. The symptoms can range from mild to severe.

People with CD are at increased risk for malnutrition. CD can also be associated with many other medical problems including arthritis, osteoporosis, eye infections, blood clots, liver disease, and skin rashes.

Causes

There are many theories regarding the specific cause of CD, although none have been proven. It is most likely that a variety of factors work together to bring about the disease. These factors range from genetics, faulty immune system reactions, environmental influences, cigarette smoking, and perhaps diet. For example, some people are genetically at risk for CD (it runs in their family), and an infection or other toxin may cause an abnormal immune reaction which then causes CD.

Risk Factors

Diagnosis

A healthcare practitioner will perform a thorough physical exam as well as a series of tests to diagnose CD. Blood tests may reveal anemia (due to a significant loss of blood) and a high white blood cell count (a sign of inflammation somewhere in the body). Stool samples may indicate whether there is bleeding or infection in the colon or rectum.

The following procedures may be used to diagnose CD. They are also helpful in distinguishing between ulcerative colitis, CD, and other inflammatory conditions.

Preventive Care

Although there is no known way to prevent CD, the number of relapses can be reduced with the right combination of drug treatment, lifestyle changes, and nutrition. Studies show that a weekly injection of the drug methotrexate may help prevent recurrences. Exercise can help prevent the stress and depression that often accompany CD, and quitting smoking can reduce recurrences in those who use tobacco. Fish oil (which contains omega-3 fatty acids) and a bland diet also show promise as means of preventing relapse.

Treatment Approach

The primary goal in treating CD is to control inflammation and replenish lost nutrients. The choice of treatment for CD depends on the severity of the disease. For example, people with mild to moderate CD are usually treated with medications that reduce swelling and suppress the immune response. More severe cases of CD may require surgery. In addition to medications, many people with inflammatory bowel diseases such as CD commonly turn to complementary and alternative remedies. Although these remedies still require extensive research, preliminary studies indicate that lifestyle changes, dietary adjustments (such as including a rich variety of fruits and vegetables and maintaining low levels of fat and sugar), specific herbs and supplements (such as turmeric) may be useful additions to drug treatment. Mind/body techniques (such as hypnosis and meditation) can help reduce stress associated with the disease.

Lifestyle

Surgery And Other Procedures

Although surgical procedures will not cure CD, three out of four people with CD must eventually have resections (parts of their colons removed). Surgery may be required because of rupture of the colon; persistent fistulas (hollow passages running between loops of intestines and other organs such as the skin, bladder, or vagina) and abscesses (painful collections of pus, which can be caused by infected fistulas); and other problems caused by the disease. In some cases less invasive techniques may be used. For example, laproscopic procedures, in which the intestines are viewed and worked on through a small incision, allow for partial resection without extended hospital stays. Fibrous strictures (scar tissue that results in narrowing of the intestine) may be treated by a procedure called stricturoplasty, in which a "balloon" is inserted in the intestine and expanded.

The following will help people to recover from this disorder.

Prognosis And Complications

A wide range of complications can develop from CD, some of which are listed below. Fortunately, however, many can be successfully treated.

Holistic lifestyle changes can help to both prevent the condition and offer relief to those experiencing the various symptoms. A good diet with a high quality whole food supplementation program, would be beneficial.

There is a link between osteoporosis and Crohn's disorder, a condition in which gluten reduces the small intestine's ability to absorb nutrients that are essential for maintaining good bone health. Gluten can also deplete iron. If tests show iron deficiency, gluten could be the cause.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

It's associated with excessively strong and frequent contractions of intestinal muscles. Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Best foods: Legumes, whole-grain breads and cereals. They're high in soluble fiber, which reduces diarrhea without adding too much "bulk" to the intestine. Coarse miller's bran, available in health-food stores, is very high in insoluble fiber.

Helpful: Slowly work up to two tablespoons of miller's bran, twice daily. To reduce constipation when eating high-fiber foods, drink several extra glasses of water a day.

Avoid milk and other dairy foods for a few weeks to see if symptoms subside. Many people with IBS are unable to digest the lactose in dairy foods. If you are among them, take a supplement, such as Lactaid, with meals.


Crohn's Disorder Information: CNN Health.com

Crohn's Disorder Information: Natural News 1/9/2009 - Relieve Crohn's Disease Naturally

Crohn's Disorder Information: Natural News 5/10/2011 - Beat Crohn's disease naturally

Crohn's Disorder Information: Fasting

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Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Ben Kim 3/28/2006 - Colitis

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Ben Kim 4/6/2006 - Diet Plan

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Mercola 4/28/2004 - Chronic Pain

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Mercola 8/11/2005 - Ulcerative Colitis

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Mercola 1/5/2006 - Diarrhea And Colitis

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Mercola 8/29/2006 - Accutane Can Cause Increased Risk

Crohn's Disorder Information: Dr. Mercola 1/1/2008 - Does Tainted Milk Cause Crohn's Disease?


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