Inflammatory Bowel Disease

February 2, 2017

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) refers to a group of idiopathic chronic inflammatory intestinal conditions. The two main disease categories the term covers are Crohn’s disease (CD) which can affect any segment of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus and ulcerative colitis (UC) which is limited to the colon. CD and UC are inflammatory bowel diseases that cause chronic inflammation and damage in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or Gut.

The Gut is responsible for digestion of food, absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes. The inflammation caused due to IBD, impairs its ability to function properly leading to diarrhea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, weight loss and fatigue.

IBD affects an estimated 1.6 million Americans. This chronic disease tend to run in families and they affect males and females equally. Although, anyone can be affected by IDB, Caucasians are more likely than other ethnic groups to have IBD. The diseases are especially prevalent in Jews of European descent (Ashkenazi Jews). African Americans and Hispanics in the United States are increasingly affected.

To understand IDB, it becomes important to understand the meaning and difference between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Corhn’s Disease – CD can affect any part of the Gut, from the mouth to the anus. It most commonly affects the end of the small intestine (the terminal ileum) where it joins the beginning of the colon. Crohn’s disease may appear in “patches,” affecting some areas of the gut while leaving other sections completely untouched. In CD, the inflammation may extend through the entire thickness of the bowel wall. This narrows the passageway for food that is being digested. The area of the intestine that has narrowed is called a stricture. Also, deep ulcers may turn into tunnels, called fistulas), that connect different parts of the intestine. They may also connect to nearby organs, such as the bladder or vagina, or connect to the skin. And as with ulcerative colitis, ulcers may cause a hole to develop in the wall of the intestine.

Ulcerative Disease – UC is limited to the large intestine (colon) and spectrum. The inflammation occurs only in the innermost layer of the lining of the intestine. It usually begins in the rectum and lower colon, but may also spread continuously to involve the entire colon. The disease causes swelling and tiny open sores, or ulcers, to form on the surface of the lining. The ulcers can bleed and produce pus. In severe cases, ulcers may weaken the intestinal wall so much that a hole develops. This causes the contents of the large intestine, including bacteria, spill into the abdominal (belly) cavity or leak into the blood causing a serious infection and requires emergency surgery.


Causes of IBD

Three characteristics define the causes of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – genetic predisposition; environmental triggers; and an altered response to gut micro biome.

  • Gut Micro biome

The intestine harbors nearly 100 trillion commensal bacteria that exert crucial effects on overall human health. Genetic studies on gut microbes have shown that they have a role in the development of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The micro biome is a key factor in establishing a balance between immune responses and tolerance to inflammation in the intestinal environment; that balance is required to maintain gut homeostasis. Studies indicate that dysbiosis (that is, abnormal micro biota composition) and decreased complexity of the gut microbial ecosystem are common features in patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Whether such changes are a cause or a consequence of the disease remains to be elucidated.


  • Genetics

Studies and scientific evidence strongly suggest the role of heredity in IBD. Studies have shown that 5% to 20% of affected individuals have a first-degree relative (parent, child, or sibling) with one of the diseases. Children of parents with IBD are at greater risk than the general population for developing IBD.

Numerous genes and genetic mutations connected to IBD have been identified.


  • Environmental Triggers
    • Smoking – Active smokers are more likely to develop Corhn’s disease, as compared to non smokers. Surprisingly, the risk of developing ulcerative colitis is decreased in current smokers compared with people who have never smoked. The numerous potential harmful health effects of smoking (e.g., cancer, heart disease) largely outweigh any benefits of smoking for people with ulcerative colitis.
    • Pollutants & Toxic metals – Constant exposure to pollutants in non-organic pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides sprayed on foodstuffs used in the diet. Contamination of food and water by polluting heavy metals. Aluminum particularly is becoming omnipresent in our environment. The biggest source is in our soils and water. All these factors affects out gut leading to IBD.
    • Diet – IBD is not triggered by eating any one particular food, but for some people, certain foods can aggravate symptoms. The role of diet in Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is important, although, more research is needed to better understand how diet may impact these diseases.
    • Antibiotics – Antibiotics may increase the risk of developing IBD.
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)
    • Appendicitis – Children who undergo an appendectomy (removal of the appendix) are less likely to develop ulcerative colitis later in life, but may be at a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease. However, the benefits of appendectomy in patients with severe acute appendicitis certainly outweigh the risks.

Symptoms of IBD

IBD is a chronic, intermittent disease. Symptoms range from mild to severe during relapses and may disappear or decrease during remissions i.e. symptoms depend on the segment of the intestinal tract involved.

  • Symptoms of inflammatory damage of the digestive tract.
    • Diarrhea – Stool may contain mucus or blood, nocturnal diarrhea & incontinence
    • Constipation
    • Pain and rectal bleeding with bowel movement
    • Abdominal cramps and pains
    • Tenesmus – need to strain harder to produce only a small amount of stool during bowel movements.
    • Nausea and vomiting


  • Symptoms associated with UC and CD in some cases:
    • Fever
    • Loss of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Fatigue
    • Night sweats
    • Growth retardation
    • Primary amenorrhea
    • Anemia

The symptoms of IBD can come and go. People may experience periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups), and go through long periods when they have few or no symptoms at all (remission).


Risk of Other Diseases

IBD patients are at a slight greater risk for developing some other diseases, including colon cancer, blood clots, and a liver disease called primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC).




  • Medications

There are five main categories of medications used to treat IBD –

  • Aminosalicylates – These are anti-inflammatory compounds that contain 5-aminosalicylic acid. These include sulfasalazine, balsalazide, mesalamine, and olsalazine. These drugs help to decrease inflammation at the wall of the intestine. They are used primarily to treat ulcerative colitis, both to reduce symptoms and maintain remission, but may not be as effective in treating Crohn’s disease.
  • Immunomodulators – This type of medications modifies the activity of the immune system so that it cannot cause ongoing inflammation. It includes azathioprine, 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP), and methotrexate. They are generally used to maintain remission in people who have not responded to other medications or who have only responded to steroids.
  • Corticosteroids These include prednisone, prednisolone, and budesonide, which affects the body’s ability to begin and maintain an inflammatory process. Its side effects are infection, bone loss, weight gain, cataracts, skin fragility, sleep disturbance, and mood swings.
  • Antibiotics – The antibiotics ciprofloxacin and metronidazole have benefit for people with Crohn’s disease that affects the colon or the area around the anus. They may be used when infections, such as abscesses, occur.


  • Surgeries

Some people with these conditions develop complications that require surgery. Around 60-75% of people with Crohn’s disease will require surgery to repair damage to their digestive system and treat complications of the condition.


  • Integrative Treatment

The integrative treatment of IBD is highly individualized and addresses the “whole” person with a focus on improving quality of life. Integrative practitioners consider a wide variety of factors when prescribing a course of treatment based on the Comprehensive Diagnostic Work-up.

This may include –

  • Vitamins & Minerals – People with IBD may develop vitamin or mineral deficiencies that require supplementation for a variety of reasons, including Crohn’s disease that affects the small intestine, certain drugs or surgeries, and other aspects of the diseases. Supplements of Vitamin B-12, Folic acid, iron and minerals are suggested to the patients.
  • Fish Oils – Omega-3 fatty acids—found in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, and sardines as well as some nuts and green vegetables—provide an anti-inflammatory effect. They have numerous health benefits, including helping to relieve the joint pain of rheumatoid arthritis (an inflammatory disorder). It has been suggested that they may also help to relieve the intestinal inflammation of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Probiotics – The gut contains “good” bacteria, which help with digestion and offer protection against “bad” bacteria. Consumption of antibiotics results in insufficient supply of good bacteria. Probiotics are live bacteria that are similar to beneficial bacteria that normally reside in the intestines. Under normal circumstances, beneficial bacteria keep the growth of harmful bacteria in check. If the balance between good and bad bacteria is thrown off, causing harmful bacteria to overgrow, diarrhea and other digestive problems can occur. Probiotics are used to restore the balance of these “good” bacteria in the body. They are available in the form of dietary supplements (capsules, tablets, and powders) or foods (yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, tempeh, and some juices and soy beverages).
  • Prebiotics – Unlike probiotics — which are beneficial live bacteria that you consume — prebiotics are natural compounds found in plants, such as artichokes, that help fuel beneficial intestinal bacteria.
  • Aloe Vera Supplements – Aloe vera is widely used topically for wound healing and pain relief. It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Turmeric – Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric, has been combined with standard ulcerative colitis therapies in clinical trials.
  • Bio field therapies – This type of therapy affects the energy fields that allegedly surround and penetrate the body. These energy fields have not yet been scientifically measured. Bio field therapies involve the application of pressure or the placement of hands in or through these energy fields. Examples include Reiki, qi gong, and therapeutic touch.
  • Biodetoxification Programme – The Center’s Biodetoxification Program utilizes clinical procedures that safely reduce the body’s burden of toxic chemicals, including chemicals stored following occupational, accidental, and/or chronic airborne exposures. Chemicals bind to human tissues on the basis of their lipophilic properties — meaning literally “attracted to fats.”


Treating and curing the disease is a two way process. Together with your co-operation and our treatment method, we have been successfully able to create success stories.

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