Crohn's Disease

ulcerative colitis, IBD

Symptoms   Causes   Self help tips   Nutritional & lifestyle discussion

Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the two most prevalent types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). These conditions, which can be painful and debilitating and cause chronic inflammation of the digestive tract.

Diet & Nutrition Help

Helpful Dietary Changes Nutritional Supplements
  • Fish oil: A special enteric-coated, "free fatty acid" form of EPA/DHA reduces inflammation and reported is the most effective form.
  • Vitamin D: Malabsorption of vitamin D is common in Crohn's disease and contributes to bone loss.
  • Multiple vitamin/mineral: Crohn's disease often leads to malabsorption so daily supplementation with a good high quality multivitamin/mineral is helpful.
  • Saccharomyces boulardii: Diarrhea caused by Crohn's disease and other conditions has responded to Saccharomyces boulardii supplementation.
  • Zinc: 25-50 mg per day, balanced with 2-4 mg per day of copper.
Helpful Herbs

A number of herbs have been considered as being helpful. See detailed information here Helpful Lifestyle Changes

  • Quit smoking There is evidence that smoking worsens Crohn's.

There are a number of proactive steps one can take that may significantly help reduce the symptoms of Chrohn's Disease.

Symptoms

Chronic diarrhea with abdominal pain, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and a sense of fullness in the abdomen are the most common symptoms. About one-third of Crohn's patients have a history of anal fissures or fistulas.

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's are quite similar. Both give rise to inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, and both can cause severe bouts of abdominal pain and liquid diarrhea. Crohn's can develop anywhere in your digestive tract and may spread deep into affected tissue layers. Ulcerative colitis, however, generally affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine and rectum.

Causes

There is only a consensus as to what does not cause IBD/UC. Chronic stress may aggravate symptoms. Scientists are focusing on other possibilities.

  • Immune system It is possible that an unknown virus or bacteria could be the causative agent. When the immune system attacks the invader the digestive tract becomes inflamed. Inflammation may arise from the virus or bacteria itself.
  • Heredity About 20% of those with IBD/UC have a sibling, parent, or child who also has the condition. Scientists are searching for a gene or genes that might make one more at risk.
  • Environment IBD is more common in city-dwellers and industrial nation populations and occurs more often among people living in cities. Environmental factors, including a diet high in fat or refined foods may play a role.

Conventional Treatment

Diarrhea and cramps may be treated with anticholinergic drugs, loperamide (Imodium), diphenoxylate (Lomotil), or codeine. Anal irritation and loose stools can sometimes be improved by giving methylcellulose or psyllium preparations . Sulfasalazine is used in patients with mild to moderate colitis. Corticosteroids may be used during acute exacerbations, although long-term corticosteroid therapy does more harm than good. Certain immunosuppressive drugs may also be effective, including azathioprine and 6-mercaptopurine. Secondary infections are managed with antibiotics.

Related Conditions

Studies

See Research for Crohn's Disease.

Symptoms   Causes   Self help tips   Nutritional & lifestyle discussion