Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), which inflame the lining of your digestive tract and cause severe bouts of diarrhea and abdominal pain. They differ in that Crohn's disease can affect any part of your digestive tract from mouth to anus, whereas ulcerative colitis usually only affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Other symptoms may include bloating and gas, blood in your stool, loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss, fatigue, nausea and headaches. Other organ systems in your body may be affected as well, in that you may experience inflammation of the eye, joint pain, mouth ulcers, and sores or bumps on the skin.
While the exact cause of these diseases is not known, it is thought that they are brought on by a combination of environmental factors such as stress along with immunological responses, bacterial complications, and genetic predisposition. Cigarette smoking can also worsen symptoms.
If your doctor suspects you may have Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, there are a variety of tests that may be suggested, including barium enema, colonoscopy, CT scan, enteroscopy, and MRI. The goal of conventional treatment is to reduce inflammation and promote healing of the intestine, so to that end your doctor will likely prescribe diet modification, and may prescribe such drugs as sulfasalazine, mesalamine, and corticosteroids. Since some of these medications have serious side effects, it is important that you discuss their benefits and risks with your doctor and/or pharmacist. In severe cases, surgery may even become necessary, whereby a part of your bowel may need to be removed, potentially to great relief.
In natural health care, there are many ways to manage your symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, such as naturopathic medicine, which carries with it a variety of options. Acupuncture and TCM is widely used to reduce inflammation and may also help with symptoms such as bloating and gas, diarrhea, constipation, low energy, joint pain and stress. Manual osteopathy can help reduce your stress and pain levels, as can yoga, thus greatly assisting in the reduction of your symptoms.
Contact us for a FREE consultation on how natural therapy can help you prevent and manage the symptoms of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
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