Managing life with Crohn’s disease.

Managing life with Crohn’s disease can mean that you have to live your life very differently than others. Crohn’s disease is a life-long condition that affects the digestive system where parts of the intestine become inflamed.

The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can come and go with some flareups being worse than others. [1]

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

According to the NHS [2], the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Stomach aches and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stools
  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue

If you have any of the above symptoms frequently, then you must see your GP.

Causes of Crohn’s disease

Many long term health conditions originate because of microbes. In fact, it’s possible all long term health conditions could start from harmful microbes, which is why the world of microbiology needs to be explored more, especially the crossover of microbes from animals to humans.

According to a research study, there is a bacteria that is believed to cause Crohn’s disease. The name of the bacteria is Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP) [4], it is a type of E.coli and is usually found in cattle causing a condition called Johne’s disease [5]. There is very little scientific evidence to prove the link, but it is believed that MAP could possibly survive the heating process of pasteurising milk and therefore contaminate dairy. This is not proven but requires more research. [6].

In other recent scientific studies, it is believed that a triple antibiotic treatment over a course of 6 months could help people with Crohn’s disease. The three antibiotics are Rifabutin, Clarithromycin, and Clofazimine. However, there are no completed studies found on the effectiveness of this treatment, but I have recently been in contact with the lead scientist of this study and will update you when I have heard back.

If you have a child, and have Crohn’s disease during pregnancy, or are young with Crohn’s disease, then it’s likely the condition has been inherited from your parents. It is believed that the DNA of bacteria can be passed onto the offspring from the parents, once this happens the bacteria are part of the genetic makeup, so unless there is a way to change this that’s why Crohn’s disease could possibly be hereditary. Treating hereditary Crohn’s disease is exactly the same way you would treat if it had developed during lifestyle. The antibiotic therapy is unlikely to work though, especially if the bacteria DNA is embedded within cells that have been passed to offspring.

It’s important to note that hereditary Crohn’s disease will usually show itself during child or young adult years. [7]

Treatment for Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a life-long condition that you must manage. Finding the right diet for you is important because certain types of food may cause flare-ups. Inflammation is important to manage, so following a diet that is low in carbohydrates and low in fibre could help, whilst low fibre diets are not usually recommended, anyone who has Crohn’s disease may find fibre can cause flareups. [3]

Including bone broth could be beneficial to reduce digestive inflammation. Taking a high strength probiotic tablet for 3 months and including natural probiotic drinks in your diet also, could help to improve the balance of your gut bacteria and therefore reduce symptoms also. You need to ensure you are having a probiotic tablet more than 50 billion CFU per tablet.

It is also possible that you should take an extensive course of antibiotics because there is some scientific evidence to support that Crohn’s disease is caused by a specific bacteria in the intestine (see below causes of Crohn’s disease). However, when taking an extensive course of antibiotics it’s extremely important to look after your gut microbiome and take high strength probiotic tablets alongside for the length you take the antibiotics.

In some cases you may need surgery to remove part of the infected area, but if you can find a way to manage naturally that would be better.

It’s even possible that you may manage your condition without medication, but initially, it’s important to see your doctor for tests and get a diagnosis. After diagnosis, find a good nutritionist and work with them on your diet.

There are other natural ways to help if you have Crohn’s.

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercise (4-5 times per week)
  • Massage

Focusing on reducing stress using mindfulness and meditation techniques can help to prevent binging on the wrong foods and help manage pain.

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