Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic autoimmune disease that involves the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It is an inflammatory bowel disease in which parts of the immune system are attacked by the body’s own immune system.
CD usually affects the ileum, the start of the colon, and the entire GI (gastrointestinal) tract, (mouth to rectum).
CD can be a severe intolerable condition but it can be relieved through holistic therapies and by knowing about food triggers.
Crohn’s Disease may develop at any age, but it usually begins during adolescence and young adulthood around the ages of 15 to 35. Both male and female are susceptible for this disease. In the US, 700,000 people suffer from this condition.
Crohn’s disease sufferers are referred to gastroenterologists, whose treatment centers on the disorders of the digestive system and on the digestive system itself. But, since various attendant problems can also crop up in these patients, they can also be referred to medical specialists such as rheumatologists, who are able to address connective tissue and joint diseases.
The Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Sufferers of Crohn’s Disease commonly manifest symptoms like an urgent need to pass stools, feeling of incomplete bowel movement, bleeding in the anus, constipation, stomach pain and cramping, and persistent diarrhea. Irritable bowel disease (IBD)-related symptoms that’s commonly experienced include amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, and fever. Patients with CD suffering from severe bowel inflammation can experience fistulas (holes in the gut) that may necessitate surgery to excise the diseased region of the bowel.
How does Western Conventional Medicine Treat Crohn’s Disease?
In Western medicine, drugs are the main treatments for Crohn’s disease. They help inhibit flare ups and relieve inflammation in the intestine. Stronger drugs, a combination of drugs, and even surgery may be needed for severe symptoms.
Doctors usually prescribe medications that impair the immune system. They include amino-salicylates, antibiotics, and antidiarrheal drugs to control inflammation. More serious symptoms can be addressed with corticosteroid shots or by biologics. Pharmaceutical products commonly prescribed for CD include immune-modulator medications such as mercaptopurine and azathioprine, antibiotics like metronidazole or ciprofloxacin, aminosalicylates like mesalamine or sulfasalazine, and loperamide (i.e., Imodium) along with prednisone or budesonide, biologics such as adalimumab, infliximab, and other tumor necrosis factor inhibitors to address severe Crohn’s symptoms.
For some sufferers, these drugs can be very important despite the fact that all of them have certain side effects. They can bring about osteoporosis and high blood pressure and raise the likelihood of infection among others.
Holistic Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
There are various ways to address CD. The more popular holistic treatments include acupressure and acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, homeopathy, aromatherapy, and herbal medicine. They all have the ability to prevent and remedy the symptoms of CD and to help prevent the symptoms from recurring as well as to help calm flare ups.
Acupuncture and acupressure are both components of TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture helps restore or maintain the health and equilibrium of our bodies after being subjected suffering to unhealthy lifestyle living and long years of stress. It accomplishes this by needling certain acupuncture points on energy channels (scattered all over the body) known as meridians.
Shiatsu or acupressure follows the same system of acupoints and meridians but without the need for needles. The main tools of an acupressure practitioner are his or her fingers that exert manual pressure on the acupressure points on the body, in order to boost health and restore balance to the life force or chi of the person.
1. Sp 5 – Shang Chiu– Spleen Meridian (Shang Mound). Found on the inside of the foot in the cavity inferior and distal to the medial malleolus, middle between the end of the medial malleolus and navicular tuberosity. It’s used to treat digestive dysfunctions, chronic enteritis, and diarrhea.
2. Du 5 – Hsuan Shu – Governing Vessel Meridian/Du Mai (Suspended Pivot). Found on the back area, in the cavity of the first lumbar vertebra inferior to the spinous process. It’s used to treat digestive conditions such as chronic diarrhea and chronic enteritis.
3. ST 37 – Shang Ju Hsu – Stomach Meridian. Found below the knee. It’s used to treat conditions affecting the colon (large intestine), and brings back balance and normalizes the colon.
4. St 25 – Chan Shu – Stomach Meridian (Heaven’s Pivot) – Located on the center of the stomach, very near the umbilicus. It’s used to treat intestinal dysfunctions caused by diseases of the large intestine, and regulates the colon and the waxing and waning in Qi
Holistic Nutrition and Diet
Eating and lifestyle modifications are recommended to positively alter a person’s natural state of health. They usually entail personal experimentation and research.
These modifications usually require imbibing a healthier lifestyle habit and discarding an unhealthy one. These modifications vary for each person and are subject to the recommendation of their doctor and their own personal discretion. Dietary suggestions include:
Avoidance of lactose derived from milk, dried milk, and dairy products.
Avoidance of common allergenic and processed foods such as corn, wheat, and foods that contain carrageenan, a substance used to stabilize and thicken foods such as yogurt, soymilk, almond milk, and ice cream.
Some of these solutions may not be effective for everyone, but there are other dietary therapies that can provide relief for different kinds of people. Various nutritional approaches may bring back digestive health and help alleviate symptoms.
Naturopathic therapy is an exhaustive mish-mash of healing approaches that include homeopathy, clinical nutrition and diet, herbal therapy, acupuncture, therapeutic exercise, hydrotherapy, physical therapies involving electric currents, soft-tissue and spinal manipulation, pharmacology, therapeutic counseling, and light and ultrasound therapy. Naturopathy constitutes therapeutic traditions of several ancient healing practices, including Greek Hippocratic medicine, Native American medicine, Indian Ayurvedic medicine, and Traditional Chinese medicine. Naturopathic practitioners of today derive their modalities from these various traditions.