Crohn's disease is an autoimmune condition, meaning that the body mounts an immune response against healthy cells in the digestive tract. This leads to chronic inflammation and ulceration of the lining of the digestive tract. Many patients with Crohn's disease have a family history, oftentimes with a first-degree relative who is affected.
Both men and women have Crohn's disease, and patients are usually diagnosed in their teens and 20s. The highest prevalence is in patients of eastern European descent.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can vary depending on the location in the GI tract and the severity of the disease. Most patients experience periods of flare-ups of symptoms along with symptom-free periods of remission. Common GI symptoms are diarrhea, urgency with bowel movements, and abdominal pain and cramping. Patients can also experience non-digestive related symptoms such as pain and swelling in the joints and skin rashes.
Naturopathic treatment for Crohn's disease focuses on decreasing inflammation in the digestive tract and providing complementary support to any conventional treatments. Anti-inflammatory supplements can help to manage frequency and severity of flare-ups. Though specific foods do not cause Crohn's disease, focusing on an anti-inflammatory diet with high nutrient, easily digestible foods is the best way to support a healthy digestive system. Compounded medications can also be used to modulate autoimmune activity.
Crohn's disease is not triggered by specific foods, but avoiding inflammatory foods can help to control symptoms and reduce flare-ups.
Sharp abdominal pain and cramping (with and without bowel movements) are typical symptoms of Crohn's disease.
Avoiding foods that cause inflammation in the digestive tract is beneficial for controlling symptoms of Crohn's disease and helping to support a healthy digestive tract lining.
Crohn's disease severity varies from patient to patient. Some are able to control disease progression with natural supplements and medications, and in some patients surgery is necessary to deal with complications or improve quality of life.
Crohn's disease is never considered to be cured, but it is possible to have very long periods of remission and be symptom free. Every patient is different in terms of the combination of therapies that work best for them; some patients can manage with natural therapies, and some may need conventional treatments and medications.