Crohn's Disease is a
severe inflammation of the lower bowel.
What to look for
cramps or pain after eating
loss of appetite, fatigue,
or weight loss
In Crohn's disease, a chronic
disorder of the intestines affects digestion and leads to general physical weakness.
Crohn's disease is typically
diagnosed among people in their twenties and thirties, but the disease can also occur in
infants and children. The disease can last a lifetime and can be controlled but not cured:
Crohn's patients usually experience attacks of abdominal pain and diarrhoea followed by
weeks or months of remission.
Parts of the intestinal wall
may thicken, accumulate fluid, ulcerate and get infected. This leads to poor absorption of
The actual cause of Crohn's
disease is unknown, but it may be a link with immune function and genes. Apparently the
bodys own immune system attacks a part of the intestine, causing the area to become
inflamed. Smokers are more likely to suffer this disease than non-smokers.
At present, there is no cure
for Crohn's disease. Treatment usually involves three steps to keeping the disease under
If the disease does not
respond to drugs and diet, your doctor may recommend surgery. You can have either a
partial colectomy which removes the damaged section of the colon but preserves the bowel
if possible or a total colectomy which removes the entire colon and the end of the small
Even though Crohn's disease
is not curable, many people with mild forms of the disease or Crohn's-like symptoms have
found ways to relieve intestinal distress without drugs or surgery.
Herbal Therapies -
slippery elm (Ulmus
fulva) bark is
soothing to the intestines. Tea made with
marsh mallow (Althaea
officinalis) root, or bayberry (Myrica cerifera) is also soothing.
For symptomatic relief of diarrhoea, try the following remedies (after checking with a
Mercurius corrosivus if
your stool contains blood and mucus and you have a feeling that the bowel has not emptied.
Arsenicum album if you have profuse diarrhoea
with a burning or colicky stomach, anxiety, and chills.
Podophyllum if you have
greenish, painless diarrhoea with gurgling and stomach cramps that are worst in the
When the disease is active,
you may speed the healing process by drinking juice squeezed from green, leafy vegetables
such as cabbage, which are loaded with chlorophyll. Drinking broth made from seaweeds may
also be helpful.
Some doctors recommend a
high-protein, high-fibre, low-fat diet to speed healing, with extra B vitamins, vitamin A
and E, fish oils, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and copper. Always check with your doctor or a
naturopath before taking vitamin and mineral supplements, however, because some have
laxative or constipating effects.
(Go to Vitamin Information)
Use a juicer to squeeze your
own cabbage and other green, leafy vegetable juices, and drink at least one glass every
day. When diarrhoea strikes, drink a cup of
marsh mallow root tea.
When to seek further
you experience prolonged
diarrhoea, especially if you have had an ileostomy; you may become dangerously dehydrated.
you have any of the
symptoms listed in the section above.