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Chronic/Pain Conditions  >>    Crohn's Disease

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In this video, Dr. Huntoon discusses Digestive Problems and what is the underlying reason for conditions like Crohn's Disease.

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Crohn's Disease

Inflammatory bowel disease - Crohn's disease; Regional enteritis; Ileitis; Granulomatous ileocolitis; IBD- Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus).

See also: Ulcerative colitis

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Symptoms

Symptoms depend on what part of the gastrointestinal tract is affected. Symptoms range from mild to severe, and can come and go with periods of flare-ups.

The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are:
Abdominal Cramps
Fever
Fatigue
Loss of appetite
Pain with passing stool (tenesmus)
Persistent, watery diarrhea
Weight loss

Other symptoms may include:
Constipation
Eye inflammation
Fistulas (usually around the rectal area, may cause draining of pus, mucus, or stools)
Joint pain and swelling
Mouth ulcers
Rectal bleeding and bloody stools
Skin lumps or sores (ulcers)
Swollen gums

 

Causes

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is unknown from a Medical Perspective. It is currently considered an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder is a condition that occurs when your body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue.

People with Crohn's disease have ongoing (chronic) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). Crohn's disease may involve the small intestine, the large intestine, the rectum, or the mouth. The inflammation causes the intestinal wall to become thick. There are different types of Crohn's disease. The type depends on what part of your body is affected.

The following seem to play a role in Crohn's disease:
Your genes
Environmental factors
The body over-reacts to normal bacteria in the intestines
Possible parasitic infection

Crohn's disease may occur at any age. It usually occurs in people between ages 15 - 35.

You are more likely to get this disease if you:
Have a family history of Crohn's disease
Are Jewish
Smoke
Have a history of antibiotic therapy without follow-up treatment of probiotics.

Traditional Medical Treatment Options and Diagnosis

DIET AND NUTRITION

You should eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. It is important to get enough calories, protein, and essential nutrients from a variety of food groups.

Taking a Probiotic supplement with every meal is recommended to maintain normal flora in your system and to help prevent Crohn’s symptoms from occurring. No specific diet has been shown to make Crohn's symptoms better or worse. Specific food problems may vary from person to person.

However, certain types of foods can make diarrhea and gas worse. To help ease symptoms, try:
Eating small amounts of food throughout the day.
Drinking lots of water (drink small amounts often throughout the day).
Avoiding high-fiber foods (bran, beans, nuts, seeds, and popcorn).
Avoiding fatty, greasy or fried foods and sauces (butter, margarine, and heavy cream).
Limiting dairy products if you have problems digesting dairy fats. Try low-lactose cheeses, such as Swiss and cheddar, and an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, to help break down lactose.
Avoiding foods that you know cause gas, such as beans.

Ask your doctor about extra vitamins and minerals you may need:
Iron supplements (if you are anemic)
Calcium and vitamin D supplements to help keep your bones strong
Vitamin B12 to prevent anemia
Probiotic supplements at every meal

Medical Treatment: Consider this Second!

MEDICATIONS
You can take medication to treat very bad diarrhea. Loperamide (Imodium) can be bought without a prescription and is often used to treat digestive problems. As with all medication, being aware of side-effects and or complications is vital. Always talk to your doctor or nurse before starting any medication for Crohn's Disease.

Other medicines to help with symptoms include:
Fiber supplements may help your symptoms. You can buy psyllium powder (Metamucil) or methylcellulose (Citrucel) without a prescription. Ask your doctor about these products.
Always talk to your doctor before using any laxative medicines.
You may use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for mild pain. However drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn) may make your symptoms worse.
Your doctor may also give you a prescription for stronger pain medicines if needed.

Medicines that may be prescribed include:
Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) are medicines that help control mild to moderate symptoms.
Corticosteroids (prednisone and methylprednisolone) are used to treat moderate to severe Crohn's disease. They may be taken by mouth or inserted into the rectum.
Medicines such as azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine quiet the immune system's reaction.
Antibiotics may be prescribed for abscesses or fistulas.
Biologic therapy is used to treat patients with severe Crohn's disease that do not respond to any other types of medication. Medicines in this group include Infliximab (Remicade) and adalimumab (Humira), certolizumab (Cimzia), and natalizumab (Tysabri).

The most common Complications of Crohn’s Disease are:
Abscess
Bowel obstructions
Complications of corticosteroid therapy, such as thinning of the bones
Erythema nodosum
Fistulas in the following areas:
 - Bladder
 - Skin
 - Vagina
Impaired growth and sexual development in children
Inflammation of the joints
Lesions in the eye
Nutritional deficiency (particularly vitamin B12 deficiency)
Pyoderma gangrenosum

SURGERY: Use this as a Last Resort!
If medicines do not work, a type of surgery called bowel resection may be needed to remove a damaged or diseased part of the intestine or to drain an abscess. However, removing the diseased portion of the intestine does not cure the condition.

Patients who have Crohn's disease that does not respond to medications may need surgery, especially when there are complications such as:
Bleeding (hemorrhage)
Failure to grow (in children)
Fistulas (abnormal connections between the intestines and another area of the body)
Infections (abscesses)
Narrowing (strictures) of the intestine
Some patients may need surgery to remove the entire large intestine (colon), with or without the rectum.

Before you consider surgery please read Medicines Two Choices . Surgery is a permanent choice and should not be undertaken lightly to treat a symptom without first attempting to address the underlying cause.

Expectations (prognosis)
There is no cure for Crohn's disease from a medical perspective. The condition is marked by periods of improvement followed by flare-ups of symptoms.

It is very important to stay on medications long-term to try to keep the disease symptoms from returning. If you stop or change your medications for any reason, let your doctor know right away.

If you’d like to avoid this form of care, there are natural solutions.

Dr. Huntoon's Alternative Medical Treatment Options

Conservative Treatment: Consider this First!

Having this condition is not fun at all. Being motivated to look for non-conventional forms of treatment is warranted. Working with a Holistic Chiropractor can offer benefits, as using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the causes and imbalances within the person is important and necessary. This has demonstrated positive results when sticking to a specific treatment plan. Others have benefited by using Acupuncture, Homeopathy or Naturopathy when following the treatment guidelines set up by your practitioner and you.

STRESS

You may feel worried, embarrassed, or even sad and depressed about having a bowel accident. Other stressful events in your life, such as moving, a job loss, or the loss of a loved one can cause digestive problems. Using a very beneficial technique called Neuro Emotional Technique (NET) with a trained practitioner will help you eliminate the negative effects of stress and restore balance to your digestive system.

Ask your doctor or nurse for tips on how to manage your stress.

What to discuss with your doctor

Signs and tests
A physical examination may reveal an abdominal mass or tenderness, skin rash, swollen joints, or mouth ulcers.

Tests to diagnose Crohn's disease include:
Barium enema or upper GI series
Colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy
Computed tomography (CT scan) of the abdomen
Endoscopy, including capsule endoscopy
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen
Enteroscopy
A stool culture may be done to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
Albumin
C-reactive protein
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Fecal fat
Hemoglobin
Liver function tests
White blood cell count

Call for an appointment with your healthcare provider if:
You have very bad abdominal pain
You cannot control your diarrhea with diet changes and drugs
You have lost weight, or a child is not gaining weight
You have rectal bleeding, drainage, or sores
You have a fever that lasts for more than 2 or 3 days, or a fever higher than 100.4 °F without an illness
You have nausea and vomiting that lasts for more than a day
You have skin sores or lesions that do not heal
You have joint pain that prevents you from doing your everyday activities
You have side effects from any drugs prescribed for your condition

Your Solution

As there is no cure for Crohn’s Disease, treatment is focused on minimizing the symptoms. A personalized treatment plan guided by a Holistic Chiropractor can help you to manage the flare ups when they happen, and lengthen the time between attacks. A healthy diet, with plenty of fluids is the best first step to living with Crohn’s Disease.

Support Groups
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America offers support groups throughout the United States. See http://www.ccfa.org/chapters/

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