Some Things To Consider When You Have Crohn’s Disease

People suffering from Crohn’s Disease should have their condition monitored and actively managed. We recommend healthy supplemental, dietary, and lifestyle approaches to help you keep your condition under control.

It’s important to note that the suggestions mentioned are not a replacement for standard care. You should talk with a qualified practitioner to know what supplements, vitamins, and herbs can work for your specific condition.

Supplements and Vitamins

Vitamin B complex: Helps fortify the immune system, firms up the gastrointestinal walls and preserves the health of several systems throughout the body

Taurine: A remarkable antioxidant. Each day take 500 mg between meals

Zinc: Helps in the healing process. Ideal for immune system function and is required by the body to properly absorb Vitamin E.

Vitamin K: Extremely important for the health of the colon

Omega- 3 (essential fatty acids): Helps reduce inflammation. It also helps mend the digestive tract. Found in flax seed oil, fish oils or evening primrose oil

Calming herb teas: St. John’s wort, Kava, and Chamomile can help quell some of the symptoms of Crohn’s

Liquid chlorophyll: Strengthens the immune system and provides vital nutrients to the body

Pancreatin and Bromelain: These two enzymes treat inflammation, aid in digestion, and help break down protein.

Herbs

Chinese herbal formulas can help fight the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease. These remedies have been used with extreme effectiveness for thousands of years. They are consistently effective in stopping many of the effects of Crohn’s Disease.

The question is, what combination of herbs will be able to help relieve your specific symptoms? This is because each individual is unique and thus each symptom is also unique. You need to talk to a qualified Chinese medicine practitioner so he or she may help figure out what herbs and other approaches will work best for you.

Mind-Body Connection

Transformation

In his book, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine written around 2500 BC, which many consider the oldest medical text in the world, Huang Ti, the famous Chinese physician wrote, “If one truly wants to heal the body, he or she should heal the spirit first.” He meant that if we want to make our transformation complete we need to look in our hearts.

You are fortunate if you’re not suffering from severe symptoms. However, this also could be a setback since you may not necessarily feel really motivated seriously finding ways to treat your condition. That is definitely a mistake.

Regardless if you manifest no symptoms at all or suffer from a severe condition, this is your chance to alter the course of your condition. There is nothing, no drug, no herb, no “magic bullet”, that can completely cure Crohn’s disease. A lot of us believe that the human body is a machine that can be repaired with the ingestion of a pill or an incision of a knife, using a mechanistic approach that oftentimes ignores the mind-body connection. To its credit, conventional Western medicine has produced miraculous interventions that have helped a lot of patients. But, as with other many diseases, it still has not come up with a truly significant treatment for them.

Exercise and Body Movement

Life is movement. Without it we atrophy. A lot us occasionally don’t feel like exercising especially if we are in pain or can’t breathe or for any other reason. Yet we need to move to stay well.

Exercise, in Chinese medicine, historically is one of the branches studied and offered in approaches to illness. Two of the more popular ones are Tai Chi and Yoga. They are very effective techniques that can build up stamina, strengthen the immune system, and enhance flexibility. They also have been proven to relieve stress and help calm the mind. If you want to get started, there are a lot of tapes and books on Tai Chi and Yoga that can help.

We recommend that you find a way to bring movement into your life. Start slowly if you think it is currently difficult to do any type of exercise. Just a five minute exercise will do; do less, if you see any of your symptoms worsening, but do something.

Lifestyle Recommendations

You need to avoid stress as much as possible. Our bodily functions, nervous systems, and thoughts are all deeply interconnected. The body is very much affected by our moods and thoughts. You need to rest if you are experiencing an attack of Crohn’s.

• Maintain an alkaline pH in your body
• Use a cleansing enema if you are constipated
• Monitor the stools every day for blood.

In the treatment of Crohn’s, it’s important that nutritional deficiencies be corrected. If you’re experiencing chronic diarrhea, trace mineral and electrolyte deficiencies should be taken into account. Deficiencies of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium can lead to chronic diarrhea.

Getting a lot of rest is very important. If you experience stress on a daily basis, look for simple ways to reduce it. They could be things like just taking deep breaths, assisting others with their problems, doing some gardening, meditating, or taking a walk in nature. You need to find one that works for you. The goal is to mute the inner dialogue that all of us have going on in our minds, reflect, and enjoy life. If you are faced with a situation that seems impossible to resolve, then we recommend that you get counseling. Unfortunately almost always, we are in a home, job, or relationships that are unhealthy to us and it’s not really easy to change things, so just start with small steps.

Dietary Principles

The diet of the person is one of the might important factors to consider in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. For everyone else, it is actually one of the most important aspects of staying healthy. One of the greatest failings of western medicine is the notion that what we eat is not important to our health. We oftentimes forget what Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said, “Food is medicine, medicine is food.” Most of us act like we live to eat and not eat to live, which should be the case if we want to stay healthy and free of disease. If you’re a Crohn’s sufferer, then it’s time to pay attention to what you eat.

There are some basic eating principles we would like to share. They are simple guidelines and ought to be followed up with a consultation with a nutritionist or doctor who’s trained to provide an optimal diet for patients with Crohn’s Disease.

Foods to consider:

• Rice porridge, ripe peaches minus the skin, applesauce, flax seed tea, figs, pumpkin, squash, mashed and steamed parsnips, okra, grated raw apple, papaya, steamed squash and zucchini, cooked carrots

• Flaxseed powder, psyllium seep powder, miso soup

• foods that rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids like evening primrose oil, cold water fish, seed oils, nuts, flaxseed oil, black currant oil

Other Helpful Dietary Tips:

• Drink lots of liquids: fresh juices, herbal teas, and steam-distilled water. Juice of aloe or fresh cabbage is also very good.
• Include in your diet a high fiber diet and high complex carbohydrate: in cultures whose diet is considered primitive, Crohn’s Disease is virtually nonexistent. It only arises in in cultures that follow a Western diet.
• Toxic body wastes are breeding grounds for infectious parasites. The bloodstream can absorb the toxins via the colon wall. Fiber in the form of psyllium husks can be taken every day which can help remove those toxins.
• Your bowels move daily. We do not recommend the use of laxatives for Crohn’s. A mild enema made up of 2 quarts of lukewarm water added to a teaspoon of nondairy acidophilus powder is good.
• Add papaya to your diet, Eat organic oatmeal, millet, well-cooked brown rice, steamed vegetables, or organic baby foods during an acute attack.

Foods to avoid:

• Avoid carbonated beverages, caffeine, alcohol, white flour, tobacco, spicy foods, margarine, greasy and fried foods, foods with preservatives or artificial additives, eggs, corn, chocolate, and animal products, except white fish from clear waters
• Remove from your diet all dairy foods (including cheese and yogurt), and yeast and fermented products from your diet. Wait and see if your symptoms decrease. These foods contain histamines and most Crohn’s sufferers are sensitive to histamines
• Stay away from sweet and sugary foods, meat, salty foods, fatty foods, fried foods, spicy foods, hot sauces, alcohol, oranges, caffeine, coffee, soybeans, corn, peanuts, cold foods, raw foods, roughage, seeds, grapeskins, and artichokes.
• Avoid food intolerances and allergens and. Avoiding food sensitivities or allergens is a critical part of the treatment.
• Stay away from refined carbohydrates. Avoids that contain any form of sugar. Eating refined carbohydrates have been linked to Crohn’s disease. They need to be eliminated from your diet
• Curtail your consumption of wheat, rye, and barley
• Foods that produce mucus should also be avoided
• Avoid fried foods. Eat a diet of cooked vegetable and non-acidic foods, bake, boil, or broil your food. Reduce your intake of refined foods. It’s very important not to exacerbate your condition so easy to digest and refined foods are OK. Unrefined foods and fiber foods are essential to maintain the health of the colon when it stabilizes. Refrain yourself from eating several types of foods at one time. Eat less raw vegetables and more steamed vegetables. Stick to one starch per meal. An alkaline juice and short fasts are highly advisable. Food should be slowly chewed and well salivated. Choose a quiet atmosphere when you eat, do not talk about distressing issues, watch television, or read while eating.

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Acupuncture Can Be Used as a Complementary Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is an illness that is marked by a distinctive inflammation of the bowel that may result in a set of symptoms. Any area of the gastrointestinal tract can be affected by this condition. The gastrointestinal tract or GI tract, for short, is a very long passageway that starts from the mouth, extends to the intestines all the way down to the anal sphincter. Depending on what part of the tract is affected by this condition, symptoms may vary, although the most common symptoms include weight loss, vomiting, stomach pain (in the belly or mid-section), and diarrhea.

Crohn’s disease can be a furthermore worse condition due to the fact that it can cause problems in other parts of the body resulting in other diverse symptoms such as fatigue, arthritis, skin rashes, and inflammation of the eye. These wide arrays of symptoms make the disease a bit difficult to manage. The disease itself may evolve from certain complex factors.

The bowel lining inflammation that characterizes Crohn’s Disease is assumed to be the result of involved arranged interactions between the immune system of the body, genetics, the environment, and bacteria. The immune system is the factor that actually causes the inflammation as the GI tract is the body part targeted by the defense mechanism of the body when Crohn’s disease develops.

The disease can develop in people at a young age, usually during adolescence and people in their 20’s, although there are some individuals in the ages of 50 to 70 who may also be at high risk for this disease. Due to the unknown etiology of Crohn’s disease, no known cure for it has been developed. In lieu of a cure, several different remedies exist and they are mainly designed to prevent the exacerbation of the disease, to relieve inflammation and to help better manage the other symptoms. Modifications in lifestyle especially smoking cessation are essential to the plan of treatment as they can make the symptoms much better. Smoking is a habit that is believed to increase twofold a person’s chances in having Crohn’s disease. As such, smokers with this condition are told to cease this habit as soon as possible as it will only worsen the problem. Adequate, regular hydration as well as frequent but small meals has proven beneficial in mitigating the symptoms and a lot of Crohn’s disease sufferers have been told to write down in a journal the foods they eat that seems to worsen or trigger the symptoms.

Western medicine uses medications as primary treatment for Crohn’s disease. These drugs include anti-inflammatory medicines and antibiotics. Another treatment option is surgery especially when obstructions or abscesses arises that complicate the disease. And as said earlier, Crohn’s disease has no known cure.

Because the proper control of the condition instead of curing the disease is the number one aim of the treatment of Crohn’s disease, especially for patients who are having a difficult time coping with the symptoms, there are sufferers who are beginning to turn to more natural and alternative forms of treatment. For several years in China, the main treatment for Crohn’s disease has been acupuncture as it has been shown that it has had consistent success in the treatment of many of the symptoms of this condition. There are also studies that confirm the effectiveness of this procedure for the proper management of Crohn’s.

Acupuncture is Effective enough in the Control of Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Practiced for thousands of years in China and other parts of the Far East, acupuncture is an ancient healing art that is widely utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to resolve inflammatory bowel conditions such as ulcerative colitis among others. Interestingly, in spite of its long time use by TCM practitioners, few evidences abound that verifies the potency of the treatment for the proper control of Crohn’s Disease. Be that as it may, some studies show that acupuncture has been proven effective in the symptomatic relief of Crohn’s although more studies are needed to validate its efficacy for the treatment of the condition.

No one, not even acupuncturists would advise their patients to use acupuncture as a first line treatment for Crohn’s disease. Several medications actually can help in the reduction of symptoms and acupuncture should be used as an adjunct treatment of drug therapy.

Besides the needles that are the trademarks of acupuncture, moxibustion can be added to the plan of treatment in order to amplify the potency of the therapy. Acupuncture aims to stimulate certain points in the body known as acupuncture points, or acupoints, for short, to help alleviate many symptoms. A lot of Crohn’s disease patients have responded positively to acupuncture despite the fact that it is treatment that is not widely accepted by doctors for treatment of Crohn’s; nevertheless, more and more people are pursuing this procedure to help cope with their symptoms in a much easier way.

It is highly advised that you only seek acupuncturists who are licensed by the state wherein they are practicing their profession and are registered by a highly accredited acupuncture organization in order to have confidence in the skill and training of the practitioner and to give you proper peace of mind.

 

Ivelisse DeJongh is a Miami acupuncturist and the medical director at DeJongh Acupuncture Clinic.