These are similar diseases resulting in ulceration of the inner gastrointestinal tract in ulcerative colitis. In Crohn’s disease, the ulcer can perforate the entire gastrointestinal tract. In Crohn’s, the most common area involved is the ileum or the last part of the small intestine. The lesions usually skip areas of involvement. Any part of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus can be involved. In ulcerative colitis, usually the rectum becomes involved and then goes up the colon. The lesions are continuous with no skip lesions. Inflammatory bowel disease mostly affects whites. It has its highest incident in Jews. It is uncommon in young children. Twenty to thirty percent have a family history but the disease is not considered inherent and seems to be more likely to be a result of sharing the same environment. Remissions and relapses over many years are the norm to inflammatory bowel disease. The signs and symptoms are acute fever, diarrhea, right lower quadrant pain. These people have an increased risk of colon cancer. Care has to be taken to watch for malabsorption syndrome. This disease is also called regional enteritis in the small intestine and granulomatous colitis in the colon. Antibiotic use has been linked to Crohn’s. Comparative studies show that early and large antibiotic use in early years tends to increase the incidence.
Yet, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the cause of inflammatory bowel disease. Autoimmuno, family, infection, diet, food allergies, and early use of antibiotics all have had the finger pointed at them. Due to the ulcers, indigestion, and poor diet, lack of absorption of vital nutrients and minerals at a time of increase in demand for these nutrients and minerals is of clinical concern. Vitamin injections bypassing the digestive phase shows promise. These people can become deficient in nutrients and malnourished very quickly. There seems to be some disturbances with antibodies found most likely secondary to the disease process or antibodies formed from toxins developed from the disease.
There seems to be some disturbances with antibodies found most likely secondary to the disease process or antibodies formed from toxins developed from the disease. Dietary factors shows diets low in fiber, high in saturated fats, and high in refined carbohydrates and sugars have a higher tendency toward inflammatory bowel disease. Food allergies have shown association with inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary diets, intravenous nutrition, and exclusive diets have shown great success in clinical trials. These are hypoallergenic diets. For a more detailed discussion, go to Food Allergies.
Systemic or body complications of inflammatory bowel disease go beyond the gastrointestinal tract. Arthritis in the wrists, knees, and ankles are seen in around twenty-five percent of the patients, and it is very common when the colon is involved. Skin involvement with nodules occurs fifteen percent of the time. The liver with cirrhosis and hepatitis and sclerosing seems to be involved about three to seven percent of the time. Physician advice for inflammatory bowel disease is mandatory.
Corticosteroids, hospitalization, and surgical removal of diseased parts can become necessary at times. Some research shows that a third of all patients will go into remission in two years. Those who had no history of steroid use have a far greater chance of remission. The key is that once in remission, you need to maintain the remission without drugs. Sometimes it is necessary for steroids to be used to stop the inflammatory process. Corticosteroids that are used are Prednisone and Sulfasalazine. Both substances increase nutritional needs of other nutrients.
Herbs / Nutrition
Proteolytic multienzymes help with the digestive problems and tend to decrease inflammation. High doses of multivitamins, including Vitamins A, K, C, and B, are very important for healing of the ulcers. Flaxseed and primrose oil tend to decrease inflammation. Fish oil, though, has more powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is the fatty acid preferred. Carrageenan is a food additive found in milk, ice cream, and cottage cheese, and this should be avoided. You should turn to a basic diet. Food allergies are very common in inflammatory bowel disease. Zinc also becomes important in the healing phase.
Decrease meat and dairy. These cause increase in inflammatory processes that can cause ulceration. Increase consumption of omega-3 fatty acids or cold water fish. These will tend to reduce inflammation. A tablespoon of flaxseed oil a day, although not as beneficial as the omega-3 fatty acids, is beneficial. During flare-ups, eat soft liquid food. You can add some fiber. Baby food seems to be a good choice during flare-ups. Increase foods with fiber and try to avoid meats, dairy products, processed foods, sugars, and wheats. Avoidance of N-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids which tend to be pro-inflammatory also helps