What is Crohn’s Disease:-
Crohn’s disease is an ongoing disorder that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It can affect any area of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine, called the ileum.
It is closely related to another condition of inflammation of the intestines called ulcerative colitis. Together, they are frequently referred to as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s diseases are chronic conditions that can last years to decades. They affect approximately 500,000 to 2 million people in the United States of America. The main difference between UC and CD is the area of the digestive tract they affect – Crohn’s can occur along the entire digestive tract and spread deep into the bowel wall. In contrast, UC usually only affects the top layer of the large intestine.
It affects men and women equally and seems to run in some families. About 20 percent of people have a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease, most often a brother or sister and sometimes a parent or child.
Crohn’s disease can occur in people of all age groups, but it is more often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 30. People of Jewish heritage have an increased risk, and African Americans are at decreased risk for developing Crohn’s disease.
Conventional treatment of crohn’s disease consists of giving combination of large number of drugs which have severe side effects that are worse than the disease.
The various medicines prescribed and their side effects are :
Steroid medicines are employed to reduce inflammation like prednisone; prednisolone, hydrocortisone, and methylprednisolone are the most common corticosteroids. These drugs are administered orally, intravenously by injection, by enema, or by suppository.
Side effects are :
Crohn’s disease cannot be cured by surgery, though it is used when partial or a full blockage of the intestine occurs. Surgery may also be required for complications such as obstructions, fistulas and / or abscesses, or if the disease does not respond to drugs. After the first surgery, it usually shows up at the site of the resection though it can appear in other locations. After a resection, scar tissue builds up which can cause strictures.
In contrast homoeopathy has good scope especially in the early stages of the condition. The goals in treating are to eliminate symptoms, prevent flare-ups (maintain long-term remission) and restore the quality of life.
Research shows that it offers effective treatment for crohn’s disease which has been scientifically documented. It is very safe and can be combined with the conventional treatment / allopathic treatment if required.
The quality of life is greatly reduced by this disease as the pleasurable moments of life can become anxiety filled because the patient needs to learn ahead of time where the bathrooms are located, or the fear of not reaching on time. Because they have special needs, people with crohn’s disease can start thinking of themselves as outcasts. The only solution to their problems is homoeopathic treatment.
The treatment for crohn’s disease is based on the concept of immuno-correction. While choosing the medicine the cause of various symptoms like bloody stools, persistent diarrhea, crampy pain in abdomen and so on are evaluated such as dietary errors, faulty feeding habits, and mental stress and so on. Proper prescription makes the immune system work more efficiently. Homoeopathic constitutional treatment will reinforce the immune system by escalating the number of specialized white blood cells called T-lymphocytes that are vital in the body’s defense against certain bacteria and fungi, assisting in making antibodies, and facilitating in the recognition and rejection of foreign tissues.
The medicines work as powerful anti-inflammatory medicines which will help in reducing the frequency of stools, the urging and discomfort associated with the condition, the passage of mucus and blood in the stools, and so on. This way the treatment will help the patients gradually reduce the various steroidal and immunosuppressive drugs which they have been taking for a long time.
The medicines also help in slowing down the progress of the disease and the development of complications. The treatment can help in inducing the periods which are symptom free and can also assist in improving the immunity so that the patient does not face frequent relapses. Medicines also improve mental and physical stress taking abilities, and alter the hereditary predisposition to the disease.
At a later stage of the disease when structural changes have taken place in the body, homoeopathy has a palliative role to play in this disease reducing the need for steroids and other immunosuppressive medications.
The remedies soothe and recover the digestive functions allowing improved absorption and assimilation of nutrients from food. The nutritional status of the patient also improves with regular treatment.
Homoeopathy can also help to prevent the need for surgery, if the treatment is opted for at the right time.
The medicines are non-habit forming and have no addictive characteristics.
There are 65 medicines which give great relief. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the physician. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus remedies of crohn’s disease are designer made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same surgery or drugs although trade name may be different.
What are the Causes of Crohn’s Disease
No one knows what causes crohn’s disease. The theories suggest various intrinsic and extrinsic factors are responsible.
Intrinsic or internal factors include
Hereditary factors / genetic factors : It is seen that if there is immediate family member having crohn’s disease, then your chances of having the disease increases.
Faulty immune system : It is believed that it is responsible for the inflammation of the GI tract. The disturbance is thought to be either of two :
Allergy : Studies suggest that crohn’s disease is a form of increased allergic response to certain food or to the presence of some microorganisms in the GI tract.
Autoimmunity : Most recent research indicate that crohn’s disease can be a form of autoimmune disease in which body’s defense system starts attacking body’s own organs and tissues.
Extrinsic or external factors / triggering factors include
Diet : Certain foods items are known to trigger crohn’s disease like junk food, dairy products and so on.
Infection : Studies suggest that certain bacterial and viral infections like mycobacterium are known to trigger crohn’s diseases or CD.
Drugs : Recent research shows that certain drugs like antibiotics, aspirin, contraceptive pills, NSAID’s are known to flare up crohn’s disease or CD.
Stress : Recent studies have accepted the fact that any kind of emotional stress has definite detrimental effect on the immune system and hence can be the root cause of chronic disease like crohn’s disease.
How Does Crohn’s Disease Affects the Intestines
In the early stages, Crohn’s disease causes small, scattered, shallow, crater-like areas (erosions) on the inner surface of the bowel. These erosions are called aphthous ulcers. With time, the erosions become deeper and larger, ultimately becoming true ulcers (which are deeper than erosions) and causing scarring and stiffness of the bowel.
As the disease progresses, the bowel becomes increasingly narrowed, and ultimately can become obstructed. Deep ulcers can puncture holes in the wall of the bowel, and bacteria from within the bowel can spread to infect adjacent organs and the surrounding abdominal cavity.
The most common symptoms are abdominal pain, often in the lower right area, and diarrhea. Rectal bleeding, weight loss, arthritis, skin problems, and fever may also occur. Bleeding may be serious and persistent, leading to anemia. Children may suffer delayed development and stunted growth. The range and severity of symptoms varies.
The location of the disease decides the symptoms of disease. The different subtypes of Crohn’s disease and their symptoms are :
Crohn’s disease may lead to one or more of the following complications :
Blood tests are used for various purposes:- An increased number of white blood cells may indicate the presence of inflammation. Blood tests are used to determine the presence of anemia and to measure liver enzymes. (They are abnormal in about 3% of ulcerative colitis patients.) New blood tests that measure certain antibodies may make it easier to differentiate Crohn’s disease from ulcerative colitis in children.
A stool sample is taken and examined for blood, infectious organisms, or both.
Standard Endoscopic Procedures : Flexible sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy are procedures that involve snaking a fiberoptic tube called an endoscope through the rectum to view the lining of the colon. The doctor can also insert instruments through it to remove tissue samples.
Dietary Changes in Crohn’s Disease:-
Diets advised : It is important to self-manage crohn’s disease with healthy lifestyle habits and a nutrient-rich diet. Paying attention to your nutrition is especially important with GI diseases because the symptoms of diarrhea and bleeding can lead to dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and loss of essential nutrients. That can lead to a host of problems such as fatigue, weakness, and anemia.
The food items advised for the patients : Eating should be based on a well-balanced diet that is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, whole grains, and good fats. Such a diet will provide you with energy and keep you well. Your diet may include meat, fish, poultry, and dairy products (if you don’t have lactose intolerance); breads and cereals; fruits and vegetables; and margarine and oils. Eat small meals and drink plenty of fluids.
If you are a vegetarian, dairy products and plant proteins such as soy products can provide the nutritional elements found in meat, fish, and poultry.
Food items to be avoided : Learning to avoid food triggers may give you better control of your disease and allow you greater freedom to enjoy an active life. Despite the fact there is no scientific proof, many people have found that one or more of the following foods can trigger their GI symptoms :