Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
Inflammation can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the back passage, but most commonly occurs in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon).
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- abdominal pain
- fatigue (extreme tiredness)
- weight loss
Over time, inflammation can damage sections of the digestive system, resulting in additional complications, such as narrowing of the colon.
People with Crohn’s disease sometimes go for long periods (weeks or months) without symptoms, or with very mild symptoms. This is known as remission. Remission can be followed by periods where a person’s symptoms flare up and become particularly troublesome.
The symptoms of Crohn’s vary depending on which part of the intestine is inflamed.
There may be long periods that last for weeks or months where you have very mild or no symptoms, followed by periods where the symptoms are particularly troublesome. These are known as flare-ups.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- recurring diarrhoea
- abdominal pain and cramping (the pain is usually worse after eating)
- blood and mucus in your faeces (stools)
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- weight loss
You may find that you experience all or only one of the above.
Weight loss can be caused by a combination of factors. For example, inflammation can interfere with your ability to digest food, and the symptoms of pain and diarrhoea can reduce your appetite.
Less common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- high temperature (fever) of 38°C (100°F) or above
- feeling sick (nausea)
- being sick (vomiting)
- joint pain and swelling (arthritis)
- inflammation and irritation of the eyes (uveitis)
- skin rashes
When to seek medical advice:
You should contact your doctor if you have:
- persistent diarrhoea that does not respond to over-the-counter (OTC) medication
- persistent abdominal pain
- unexplained weight loss
- blood in your faeces (stools)
Crohn’s disease can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor diet and nutrition, food allergies, imbalanced levels of hydrochloric acid, impaired immunity, infections, lack of exercise, “leaky gut” syndrome, pharmaceutical drugs, and stress.
Diet and Nutrition: One of the primary causes of Crohn’s disease, as well as other gastrointestinal disorders, is a diet high in commercially processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats, and which contains an abundance of chemical additives and preservatives while lacking adequate amounts of fiber. Such a diet, which is sadly all too typical of the way many people eat in the United States and other industrialized countries, not only places a great burden on the gastrointestinal tract, it can also result in serious nutritional deficiencies. All of these factors combined can lead to excess acidity in the GI tract, indigestion, poor absorption of food nutrients, “leaky gut” syndrome, a buildup of toxins, and autoimmune reactions, all of which can cause the gastrointestinal tract to become inflamed and ulcerated.
Food Allergies: Food allergies, while often overlooked or misdiagnosed by conventional physicians, are another common cause of Crohn’s disease, as well as many other disease conditions. If you suffer from Crohn’s disease, or any other gastrointestinal disorder, it is very important that you be tested for food allergies and sensitivities. Common allergy-causing foods include milk and dairy products, wheat, gluten (a component of wheat products), corn, and chocolate, but any food has the potential to cause food allergies.
Imbalanced Hydrochloric Acid Levels: Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is secreted by the stomach to aid in the digestion of food. Many people suffer from a lack of HCl production, however, which can lead to impaired digestion and poor absorption of food nutrients, and can eventually affect the areas of the GI tract where Crohn’s disease occurs. Similarly, an excess of HCl production can result in a state of over-acidity, causing heartburn, flatulence, and ulceration of the lining of the mouth, esophagus, stomach, and intestines.
Impaired Immune Function: Impaired immunity can also cause or contribute to Crohn’s disease, as well as other GI disorders due to the relationship between diminished immune function and poor absorption of nutrients from food. In addition, poor immunity can also result in an increase in toxins within the gastrointestinal tract, as well as cause autoimmune reactions that actually attack the cells of the intestinal lining, leading to ulcers and inflammation. Autoimmune reactions have been shown by research to be linked to both Crohn’s disease and colitis.
Infections: Infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses all negatively affect overall gastrointestinal health. Viruses and bacteria such as Epstein-Barr virus, Cytomegalovirus, Pseudomonas, Chlamydia, and Yersinia enterocolitica are especially common in cases of Crohn’s disease. In addition to releasing toxins into the GI tract, these infectious microorganisms can cause autoimmune reactions, “leaky gut” syndrome, and malabsorption, as well as dysbiosis, or overgrowth of unhealthy intestinal flora such as Candida albicans, the primary cause of candiasis.
Lack of Exercise: Failure to exercise regularly can result in diminished production of digestive and pancreatic enzymes, as well as hydrochloric acid (HCl), all of which are necessary for healthy gastrointestinal function and which, if lacking, can result in a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders.
“Leaky Gut” Syndrome: “Leaky gut” syndrome refers to a condition caused by damage to the stomach and intestinal lining, specifically the mucosa. As a result of this damage, undigested proteins, as well as various microorganisms that normally remain within the GI tract pass through the intestines to enter into the bloodstream. This, in turn, causes the immune system to overreact, producing antibodies that attack the cells of the intestines. In addition to GI disorders, “leaky gut” syndrome has also been linked to rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.
“Leaky gut” syndrome can develop whenever the digestive tract is excessively stressed, yet it is rarely diagnosed. For more information, treatment protocol, and indicators that will help determine if you have “leaky gut” syndrome, please read the expanded Leaky Gut Section. You can printout the full article for easy reference.
Pharmaceutical Drugs: The following drugs can all cause and exacerbate various gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn’s disease: Accutane, Alka-Seltzer Antacid and Alka-Seltzer Pain Reliever, Anturane, Genuine Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Plus Aspirin, Bayer Regular Strength Enteric Aspirin, Bufferin Analgesic Tablets and Caplets, Ceptaz, Clinoril, Cuprimine, Ecotrin Enteric Coated Aspirin, Feldene, Ilosone, Lamprene, Leukine for IV Infusion, Lopid, Marplan, Meclomen, Novantrone, Paraplatin, Piroxicam, Prokine I.V. Infusion, Retrovir, Rynatuss, Supprelin Injection, Suprax, Ticlid, Tolectin, Toradol IM Injection, Trecator-SC, Trilisate, and Voltaren.
Stress: Chronic and poorly managed stress has a direct effect on the gastrointestinal system, and elevated stress levels have long been linked by scientific research to a wide variety of GI disorders, including Crohn’s disease, because of how stress results in elevated acid production and impairs overall digestive function.
As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here
Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:
- Eliminate Candida: Click here to find out how
- Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system: Click here to find out more
- Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com/ Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water. It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.
- Go on a fast to clear your system of toxic waste www.wecarespa.com
- We recommend regular colonics to remove toxicity from the body. Read more about colonics by clicking here. Find a practitioner here.
- Most of the water that we drink is very acidic and in order to heal our bodies need a more alkaline state. During the programme drink alkalised water with a pinch of salt in 8oz four to five times a day – www.realwater.com
- To relieve inflammation of the GI track, consider administering an enema two to five times a week containing butyric acid. (Add one tablespoon of butyric acid to one quart of warm water.) Butyric acid helps to heal inflammation of the intestinal walls.
- Drink plenty of pure filtered water
- Increase your intake of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, and complex whole grains, such as such as amaranth and quinoa, as well as organic, free-range meats, poultry, and wild-caught fish.
- Avoid all commercial, processed, fried, and nonorganic food, as well as alcohol, coffee, sugars, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, food dyes, milk and dairy products, wheat and wheat products, and refined carbohydrates.
- Do not eat saturated, trans-, hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated fats and oils. Instead choose from virgin coconut butter/oil, extra virgin olive oil, high lignin flax seed oil, and unrefined hemp seed, walnut, and sunflower oils.
Note: With digestive issues such as Crohn’s, pureed vegetables could be an excellent option for you. Eating blended foods is less work for the system because the food is already partially broken down. Although it is unnecessary to chew blended food, it is still important to move each bite of food around in your mouth before swallowing to activate saliva’s role in digestion.
In addition, undergo testing for potential food allergies and sensitivities and avoid those foods to which you test positive. Consider a rotation diet or elimination diet in order to further reduce the likelihood of food allergies.
Nutrition and diet are key players in the healing and elimination of imbalance and disease. For a complete, nutrition packed, whole foods eating plan, read the Natural Cures Healing Food Plan. Also, for some plagued with Crohn’s Disease, a raw food diet could be extremely beneficial; for others, raw food may not be the best choice. Each person responds differently based on their individual chemistry and the depth of the condition being healed. To learn more, read about the Raw Food Diet. Numerous books are available to give you a bigger overview of how eating raw and live foods might be the perfect healing path. (See the recommended books section.) You can print out these full articles on the different diets for easy reference.
The Specific Carbohydrate Diet – A dietary approach that has been found to be effective in the majority of Crohn’s disease cases is called the Specific carbohydrate Diet. It was developed by Elaine Gottschall, M.Sc., in an effort to help her four year-old daughter heal her own colitis symptoms, and is based on the research of the late Sidney V. Haas, M.D., who discovered that most gastrointestinal disorders are caused by an imbalance of carbohydrates in relationship to the microorganisms that naturally occur in the gastrointestinal tract.
According to Dr. Haas, when this relationship becomes unbalanced, the microorganisms grow unchecked and release toxins, causing malabsorption of food, and especially poor digestion of carbohydrates, a staple of the Western diet. To reverse this trend, Haas, and later, Gottschall developed the strict dietary regimen that comprises the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. Based on her work with hundreds of patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders, Gottschall has found that the diet can yield complete results in as little as three weeks, but only if it is completely adhered to. Its eating guidelines are as follows:
Avoid: All processed, smoked or canned meats, breaded or canned fish, seaweed, processed cheeses, seeds, potatoes, yams, parsnips, chick peas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mung beans, fava beans, as well as all cereal grains in any form, including flour. Avoid milk, and all products commercially made from milk, dried milk solids, buttermilk or acidophilus milk, commercially prepared yogurt, sour cream and ice cream. Do not consume soymilk, instant tea, coffee, coffee substitutes, beer, cornstarch, arrowroot, chocolate, carob, bouillon cubes, instant soup bases, any product made with refined sugar, agar-agar, carrageenan, pectin, ketchup, molasses, corn and maple syrup, any flour made from legumes, and baking powder.
Eat: Fresh or frozen, preferably organic meats, poultry, wild caught fish, organic eggs, organic milk and products made from organic milk such as cheeses, homemade yogurt prepared at low temperatures from organic milk, and dry curd cottage cheese. Choose from a wide variety of freshly prepared, preferably organic vegetables. Vegetables and fruits are the main stay of this food plan. Use no canned foods with the exception of salt-free canned red salmon, white albacore tuna or sardines, only on occasion. Daily juicing of fresh green vegetables is an important addition for healing and offers you deep nutritional nourishment. With this and all illness, providing yourself with the most supportive nutritional profile possible is of primary importance. Abide by this diet for as long as your symptoms persist. Adherence can be challenging, but maintenance is essential to obtain the desired results.
- Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day nc.vitaminstrength.com/ for a period of up to 4 weeks.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here kevintrudeaudailylifesessentials.com/
- Coral calcium – link
- Digestive enzymes www.qnhshop.com
- Take Fivelac – one packet three times a day.
- Take raw organic apple cider vinegar – 1tsp with each meal.
- Omega 3s:
Krill oil – www.krilldoctor.com
Fish oil – www.shoporganic.com
Cod liver oil – www.drrons.com
Vegetarian – www.sunfood.com
Hemp Seed Oil
Other useful nutritional supplements include vitamin A, beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, taken with a multivitamin/multimineral formula.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
We know that when the body is out of balance, energy doesn’t flow, leading blockages and eventually disease. Here are some things you can do to combat stress and restore balance:
- Go to a Dr Morter BEST (Bio-Energetic Synchronisation Technique) Practitioner.
- Sign up for Energetic Re-Balancing: 2 practitioners to consider are:
- Stephen Lewis, founder of the Aim Program. Find out more by clicking here.
- Vital Balancing. Find out more by clicking here.
- Consider using Mary Millers Iching System Products – ichingsystemsinstruments.com
We advise you visit a licensed practitioner who can make the appropriate recommendations. Ayurveda categorizes both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis in the disease called ‘Pravaahika’, and as a result treatment is aimed at correcting the basic pathology of the diseases, controlling symptoms, preventing or reducing complications and boosting the immune system of the body.
Treatment for the main symptoms includes medicines like Kutaj-Ghan-Vati, Kutaj-Parpati, Panchamrut-Parpati, Bilva-Avaleha, Sanjeevani-Vati, Bhallatak-Parpati, Jatiphaladi-Churna, Bol-Parpati and Bol-Baddha-Ras. Herbal medicines useful in these conditions are: Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis), Ativisha (Aconitum heterophyllum), Bilva (Aegle marmelos), Udumbar (Ficus glomerata), Hing (Ferula narthex), Kutaj (Holarrhina antidysentrica), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Naagkeshar (Messua ferrea) and Bhallatak (Semicarpus anacardium).
In order to prevent bleeding, medicines like Praval-Bhasma, Naagkeshar, Sphatik-Bhasma and Laxa (Purified wax) are used. Castor oil has been given prime importance in the treatment of these conditions; and therefore, products containing this medicine such as Gandharva-Haritaki and Sinhnaad-Guggulu are used along with other medicines. Refractory patients who do not respond satisfactorily are given a course of a special medicated enema known as ‘Pichha-Basti’ which consists of milk, boiled with medicines like Moch-Ras (Salmalia malabarica).
In order to reduce the intestinal inflammation and prevent complications like abscess and fistula, medicines like Kamdudha-Ras, Chandrakala-Ras, Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica) and Haridra (Curcuma longa) are used in high doses for prolonged periods. Medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi) and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) are used to reduce stress. Suvarna-Parpati, Suvarna-Malini-Vasant and Panchamrut-Parpati are used to boost the immune system of the body and also to reduce the inflammation in the intestines.
Ayurvedic physicians treat Crohn’s disease by teaching their patients how to better manage stress, using tools such as meditation. In addition, they screen for food allergies and parasites, create diets tailored to each patient’s specific metabolic needs, and employ herbs and nutritional supplements, such as acidophilus (to protect against dysbiosis), boswellia (to reduce inflammation), cumin, garlic, ginger, and fish oils, a rich source of omega-3 oils that have been shown to act as natural anti-inflammatory agents.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Visit a licensed practitioner who may wish to discuss:
- Acupuncture – There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering from Crohn’s disease. In 1979 the World Health organization listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment: diseases of the intestinal tract were included in that list. This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body. It has also been shown to boost the immune system, calm the nervous system, and cause the brain to release endorphins and encephalins (natural pain killers). It has also been established that all psycho-physiological health problems (of which Crohn’s disease is included) are particularly suitable for acupuncture treatment.
- Herbal medicine – the following are known to be benficial:
- 1. Astragalus root, Codonopsis root (a type of ginseng) and Atractylodis root. These three herbs are tonics to the digestive organs, which mean they trengthen their function. Codonopsis, like all ginsengs, has a very strong affinity for the digestive organs, and has a slightly warming effect. Astragalus, which is a great immune system enhancer, also has a very specific function of “lifting” the body’s energy. This is especially beneficial in the case of chronic diarrhoea, especially accompanied by fatigue.
- 2. Angelica/Dang gui root and White paeony root These ingredients are blood tonics, which are of great importance in cases with bleeding ulcerations and when anaemia becomes a real possibility. Additionally, Peony root has a strong anti-cramping and anti-diarrhoea action.
- 3. Aucklandia root, Corydalis root These herbs normalize the movement of energy in the abdominal area. Pain, spasms and excessive urges to defecate indicate the Qi is moving in fits and starts, erratically, instead of the normal and predictable peristalsis of the intestines. The aromatic and acrid nature of these herbs regulate this process.
- 4. Ume plums, Catechu resin These sour and astringent substances are used to restore and heal the mucosal linings of the GI tract, and close non-healing sores. Ume plum has powerful anti-allergic properties. Even if you did not start out with food allergies, the chronic inflammation can impair absorption and assimilation, and many foods can become irritants.
- 5. Coptis root, Pulsatilla root These are very bitter, strongly detoxifying and drying herbs, necessary when there is a great deal of mucous, fever or infection or when there is a burning sensation when passing stools.. They have a broad antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action, and are generally used for a short time to subdue a severe and acute flare of symptoms.
- 6. Roasted Ginger root and Licorice root Ginger aids digestion by warming the digestive system, which in TCM is thought of as an oven that must be kept stoked with slightly warming, cooked foods. Additionally, roasting the ginger gives it an extra ability to stop diarrhoea. Licorice root is one of the most fascinating herbs of TCM. It has many unique properties and thus figures prominently in most prescriptions. Firstly, it strongly clears fire poison (toxins), which means it has a strong antiviral and anti-inflammatory effect. This also enables it to help with symptoms of withdrawal from steroids. What is unusual is that such a strongly detoxifying herb possesses such a sweet taste, many times sweeter than sugar. Usually, it is the very bitter herbs such as dandelion and goldenseal that commonly possess such qualities. However, it is precisely licorice’s sweet flavour that enables it to act as a tonic and harmonizer at the same time that it detoxifies. Tonics strengthen, and they are mostly sweet in flavour. Harmonizing means that licorice is able to bring together the different actions of the herbs in any given formula, so that they work together to subdue all of the elements of the disease. And finally, licorice root has a slippery, mucilaginous quality which can protect the stomach from the bitter herbs and their drying properties.
The following essential oils can help to relieve symptoms:
- Aniseed, Anise Star, Basil, Fennel, Peppermint, Marjoram, Rosemary, Melissa – good for cramps
- Nutmeg, Peppermint, Cardamon, Juniper, Nutmeg – good for colic
For a massage, add between two and five drops of a maximum combination of three oils to 25ml of a carrier oil, or drop the oils into a warm bath.
Useful homeopathic remedies include, Aloe, Allumium sativa, Arsen. Alb., Belladonna, Cantharis, Colchicum, Merc. Sol., and Nux vomica.
Useful herbs include agrimony, bayberry, chamomile, geranium, goldenseal, lemon balm, marshmallow root, peppermint, plaintain, wild yam, and valerian. The traditional herbal remedy Robert’s Formula is also recommended, consisting of comfrey, Echinacea, geranium, goldenseal, marshmallow root, poke root, slippery elm, and wild indigo.
Useful juice remedies include aloe juice; wheatgrass juice; cabbage, papaya, and carrot juice; carrot and apple juice; and carrot, beet, and cucumber juice. You can also drink the juice of half a lemon with warm water, especially in the morning, followed by any of the juice combinations above. Avoid all citrus juices, however, as these can greatly aggravate your symptoms.
If you smoke, stop, and also avoid exposure to second hand cigarette smoke. In addition, learn how to effectively cope with and manage stress. Also try to exercise regularly.
If you are currently taking aspirin or other NSAIDs, consider replacing them with safer, more effective natural remedies.
Learning how to reduce and properly manage stress is essential for helping to protect against Crohn’s disease. Stress reduction techniques are also very helpful for dealing with emotions such as anger, depression, and hopelessness that can exacerbate symptoms. Holistic health practitioners help their patients accomplish stress reduction through the use of various mind/body medicine techniques, such as biofeedback, hypnotherapy, and relaxation exercises.
Meditation is another form of stress management that can be highly effective. There are many ways to meditate. One of the easiest is simply to sit comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed as you focus on your breathing. Do this for five to ten minutes twice a day and gradually extend each session to 20-30 minutes. To enhance your efforts, concentrate on mentally repeating a peaceful phrase each time you inhale and exhale, allowing all other thoughts to arise and pass without becoming involved in them. At first, this may seem difficult, but with committed practice you will eventually find yourself able to do so while experiencing greater degrees of calm and peace.
Alternative Professional Care The following therapies can also help to prevent and relieve colitis: Biofeedback Training and Neurotherapy, Bodywork (Feldenkrais Method, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Therapeutic Touch), Craniosacral Therapy, Environmental Medicine, Enzyme Therapy, Fasting, Flower Essences, Guided Imagery, Hypnotherapy, Mind/Body Medicine, Naturopathic Medicine, Neural Therapy, Osteopathic Medicine, Oxygen Therapy, Qigong, Tai Chi, and Yoga.
Hypnotherapy beats Crohn’s Disease: www.naturalnews.com/026935_disease_hypnotherapy_Crohns.html
Milk and dairy products cause Crohn’s: www.naturalnews.com/002684.html
Controlling Crohn’s Disease with acupuncture www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_jun06/main2.htm
Crohn’s Disease and natural supplements: www.raysahelian.com/crohnsdisease.html
Homeopathy and Crohn’s: www.classicalhomoeopathy.com/crohns.htm
Crohn’s Disease and Stress www.loweryourstress.com/crohns-disease-and-stress.html
Crohn’s Disease and Ayurveda: www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0GdxbB7nRA
Chinese herbs for Crohn’s Disease: www.ehow.com/video_6191272_chinese-herbal-remedies-crohn_s-disease.html
How to reverse Crohn’s Disease with natural living: video.answers.com/how-to-reverse-crohn%E2%80%99s-disease-with-natural-medicine-141495235
Artificial sweeteners danger and Crohn’s: www.naturalnews.com/034378_artificial_sweetener_disease_ASD_aspartame.html
Dirt exposure can be a good thing: naturalsociety.com/dirt-exposure-could-be-a-good-thing/
Banana and plantain fibers could treat Crohn’s: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100825191700.htm
Further Information (links and books)
Eating right for a Bad Gut, James Scala; Gastrointestinal Health, Steven Perkin MD; How to Cook For Crohn’s and Colitis, Brenda Rischer; Gut Reaction, Gudrun Jonsson.
Andrea Butje | Aromahead email@example.com – aromatherapy
Carrie Vitt firstname.lastname@example.org – organic food recipes.
David Spector-NSR/USA email@example.com – meditation, stress
judith hoad firstname.lastname@example.org – herbalist.
Kath May email@example.com – reiki, tai chi.
Lillian Bridges firstname.lastname@example.org – Chinese medicine, living naturally.
Monika email@example.com – aromatherapy.
Rakesh GAC@AyurvedicLifeStyles.com – Ayurvedic Practitioner.