Crohn’s disease is characterized by inflammation of (most commonly) the small intestine while ulcerative colitis affects the large intestine. Steroids, anti-inflammatory medications, and surgery are just some of the medical treatment options for these two diagnoses. Though there are some differences between the two disorders, I’ll address them together in a general fashion.
Understanding what is causing the inflammation of the GI tract is one of the first steps in resolving this problem. Intestinal permeability is shown to be extremely high in a person with these conditions. This is where investigating for food allergies (wheat, dairy, corn, and soy are the most prevalent), food intolerances (lactose), and fungal, bacterial, and parasitic infections become very important. The general labs that hospitals run only pick up the more than obvious parasitic infections and only scan for general food intolerances, if they even run the tests.
The “4R” program is very beneficial in cases of digestive disturbance. These are all things I check each and every patient for. This stands for:
Remove: the offenders, such as the food offenders or the infections
Replace: enzymes and nutrients as necessary to heal the GI tract
Reinoculate: with “healthy” beneficial bacteria (probiotics) as necessary
Repair: the GI tract with essential omega 3 and 6 fats (anti-inflammatory), proteins, and nutrients such as glutamine, vitamin E, immunoglobulins, zinc, and various antioxidants, as indicated
Investigating and correcting stress levels are important concepts to help a person heal from Crohn’s and colitis. Many times there is a high level of cortisol in a person with Crohn’s or colitis. Cortisol will suppress and deplete the natural immune barrier of the gut (secretory IgA) leading to an increased incidence of infections and food allergies. This will subsequently lead to more inflammation.
These conditions are very manageable and yes, they can be resolved, with a very high success rate if the right steps are taken. It is possible to be free of your colitis or Crohn’s without drugs such as steroids, anti-inflammatories, and immunosuppressant medications. Don’t buy into the “You’ll have this for the rest of your life.”; “You’ll always need to take these medications.”; “There’s nothing anyone can do for this.” prescription.
A FODMAPs diet can also significantly help the digestive tract. Click here to read about FODMAPs.