Alternative Cures for Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory disorder of the GI tract.

courtesy of content.revolutionhealth.com/contentimages/h9
courtesy of content.revolutionhealth.com/contentimages/h9

If you have never heard of Crohn’s disease, it’s because it is considered rather in relation to other diseases. Some 500,000 Americans have this disease. The cause remains unknown though there are correlations that typify Crohn’s Disease. What is this debilitating disease? Crohn’s disease, named after American gastroenterologist Burill Bernard Crohn, who first diagnosed it, is an inflammatory disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can extend from the mouth to the anus, though it commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum. The inflammation can be transmural (passing through walls of organs) and it can produce fistulas that can extend deep into the lining of organs as well. It is this inflammation that produces abdominal pain, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Because the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are similar to other intestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to diagnose. Whereas Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation in the top layer of the lining of the large intestine, Crohn’s disease may involve all layers of the intestine and there can be sections of the bowel that are unaffected.

Complications from Crohn’s Disease

Having Crohn’s disease may produce a host of other problems. Since inflammation of the intestine can thicken walls with swelling and scar tissue, the affected section can become narrow. It can also produce sores and ulcers that can tunnel through surrounding tissues such as the bladder, vagina or the skin. The areas around the anus and rectum are often involved too. These tunnels, called fistulas are breeding grounds for infection. Though fistulas can be tamed through medication, in some cases, surgeries may be required.

Crohn’s patients may experience other complications such as arthritis, skin problems, inflammation in the eyes or mouth, kidney stones, gallstones, diseases of the liver and biliary system.

Although some of these problems can be resolved by treating the infection in the digestive system, some have to be treated separately.

Conventional Treatments

Doctors have used many different conventional means to treat Crohn’s disease with varying degrees of success. According to Mayo clinic, these include anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, anti-diarrheals, laxatives, pain relievers, nutritional supplements such as iron and B-12 vitamins, calcium and vitamin D and even surgery.

Alternative Treatments

As you can see, most of the conventional treatments use synthetic drugs to address the problem. If you’re looking for alternative methods to treat this problem, check these out. Always consult your doctor before trying any of these methods.

Nutrition

Although there is no firm evidence to blame food for the cause of Crohn’s disease, what you eat may affect your GI tract and since, it’s compromised with Crohn’s disease, foods play a crucial part in helping alleviate symptoms. Certain foods can aggravate inflammation while others serve to ameliorate symptoms.

Dairy Products

Your GI tract may have a problem breaking down milk sugar (lactose). Either go easy on them or use an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, to help to digest lactose.

Low-Fat Foods

Low fat foods are not just good for the waistline, they are also good food options for Crohn’s patients. Why? Fats are difficult to digest and can make your diarrhea worse. Watch out for these trouble makers: butter, margarine, creamy sauces and fried foods.

Fiber

For most people, fiber is the magic to a good diet but for people with Crohn’s disease, fiber can spell trouble. The inflamed intestines may have a hard time digesting it, giving rise to diarrhea, gas and pain. If you love vegetables, try steaming, baking or stewing them. Avoid vegetables in the cabbage family such as broccoli and cauliflower. Ditch nuts, seeds and popcorn as well.

Problem Foods

Some foods are inherently “gassy” and we’ll name some culprits, so you know: beans, cabbage, and broccoli. Other problem foods include citrus fruits, spicy food, alcohol, caffeinated beverages, chocolate and soda.

Calcium and vitamin D.

According to MedPub, Crohn’s disease can reduce bone density. To boost bone mass, include foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.

Multivitamins

Crohn’s disease can interfere with nutrient absorption due to limited diet or troubled spots on your GI tract. Check with your doctor and asked if you need a multivitamin or mineral supplement.

Probiotics

WebMd reported that a certain gut bacterium called F. prausnitzii may make a good probiotic treatment for Crohn’s disease. Researchers pointed out that even though it didn’t kill bacteria, it exerted anti-inflammatory effects on the GI tract, thereby reducing symptoms.

Probiotics can be found in yogurt, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, Kimchi and Miso.

Health Benefits of Turmeric by Dr. Andrew Weil

The National Institutes of Health lists 24 current studies on the effects of turmeric and its chief active component, curcumin. Such studies raise the question of which is better to take: whole turmeric, generally used as a powdered spice with food; or curcumin, which is usually taken as a supplement? Each has been shown to have health benefits, but unless you have a specific condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, I favor using turmeric (especially in cooking) rather than taking curcumin pills.

Health benefits of Cat's claw

UNCARIA TOMENTOSA - CAT'S CLAW

Cat's Claw is a woody Amazonian vine has only recently caught the attention of western herbalists and researchers. Its Spanish name is Una de Gato, and it is native to the jungles of Peru where it can be found wrapped around trees of the Amazon rain forest.

Herbs

Herbs can be a useful complement to traditional medicine. However, since medical evidence is lacking, herbs should be taken with the supervision of a health care provider. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, certain herbs have been used traditionally to treat Crohn’s disease:

  • Slippery elm.

Acts as a demulcent, meaning it protects irritated tissues and promotes healing.

  • Marshmallow

Acts as a demulcent and emollient (soothes mucous membranes).

  • Curcumin

This active ingredient found in turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties.

  • Cat’s Claw

Fights inflammation.

  • Boswellia

Also fights inflammation

Boswellia or Indian Frankincense is often combined with glucosamine to relieve joint pain.

courtesy of www.kemanahealing.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets.
courtesy of www.kemanahealing.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a long history of use in Chinese medicine to treat many illnesses, including inflammatory bowel disease. According to PubMed, a report studying the outcome of acupuncture and moxibustion (a technique in which the herb mugwort is burned over specific acupuncture points) on Crohn’s disease patients showed that it is effective in treating mild to moderately active CD.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Imagine inhaling 100 percent oxygen at pressures 2 to 3 times higher than atmospheric pressure in an enclosed chamber. That’s the premise for the use of hyperbaric oxygen(HBO) therapy. By forcing oxygen into tissues in hyperbaric chambers, patients will have higher oxygen content in their blood stream. Higher levels of oxygen can promote healing to inflamed areas, grow new blood capillaries and get rid of toxins, free radicals and germs.  HBO therapy has been used to treat a number of medical ailments. PubMed reported that HBO therapy is effective in treating perianal Crohn’s disease (where tissues around the anus are affected), especially in cases where patients are not responding to traditional medications such as local medication, salicylates and corticosteroids.

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Comments 16 comments

BkCreative profile image

BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

What a great and informative hub. Yes, let's always consider nutrition as an option before we do anything else. Prevention, it used to be called and it makes sense.

Thank you for covering this topic so well. Rated up of course and more!


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

What an informative hub anglnwu!

I only have a vague idea about Chrohn's Disease. You explained it very well here.

It's always better to treat a disease or disorder in a wholistic way. So it's great that you named here all the possible treatments including the nutritional aspect.

Great hub my friend! Rated it up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Anginwu, This is an excellent hub on Crohn's Disease. It is a miserable disease to have and I liked the fact that you added some natural cures also. Very Good Hub!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

I know so many people with this disease. It is good to read about natural cures.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

BK Creative, so glad to have the health guru herself visit my hub. I'm with you--it's good to consider nutrition first and foremost. Thank you for rating it up.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Jill, what a way for me to start my day--seeing you at my hub! It's always a pleasure to see you. Thanks for your kind comments. I too had a vague idea until I did the research. One of my good friends has this disease and I thought I should do a hub on it. Thanks for rating it up.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Thank you, Pamela, for your endorsement. I bet I'll be seeing you at the Hubbalicious contest. You will be giving everyone a run for their money with your super hubs. Good luck.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Sandyspider, thank you for taking time off to drop a line. My good friend has the disease and it's miserable.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

nice one angel, I learned a lot, Maita


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Thanks, Maita!


fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

This is a very interesting and useful hub! thank you for improving my knowledge about this disease and its treatment


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Good to see you twice in a row. Appreciate your comments and glad you find it useful.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I have a very good friend with this diseqase. It is extremely painful and dibilitating. You have wonderful advice and tips. Well written, Great hub.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago Author

Thanks, KofeeKlatch. Hope your friend is doing better.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Exploring options for treatment is so important to finding what works best for an individual. This overview of alternative treatments should be very helpful to people, anginwu.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 4 years ago Author

Thanks, Rtalloni, for your comments.

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