This is a chronic inflammatory process which affects the small intestine. It mainly affects the last segment of the small intestine called the terminal ilium. However any part of the gastrointestinal tract can be involved.
A symptom complex can involve : diarrhea with or without pain, generalized abdominal pain along with weight loss. This is an extremely debilitating disease process. Many patients suffer from alternative or accessory organ inflammatory issues involving the kidneys in developing stone formation TO arthritis.
This chronic inflammation leads patients to suffer from continual intestinal fistula formation. Scarring can lead to bowel obstructions requiring the patient to present to the emergency room for a surgical bowel resection. Often times such patients have large resections of their small intestine that can develop post operative infections along with nutritional deficiencies.
Remember it is the small intestines function or job to absorb the nutrients, vitamins and minerals our body needs to maintain normal physiology. In the absence of sections of the small intestine these required nutrients the body requires can cause abnormalities in the patients body from functioning normally. Another wards the patients wounds may not be able to heal or the patient may not be able to fight off a smoldering infectious process.
The root cause or etiology of Crohn’s is thought to be auto-immune in nature. Thus patients whom develop Crohn’s disease often may have a co-existing auto-immune process such as arthritis.
Current treatments involve both medical and surgical options. This disease can be so debilitating that patients may have their entire small bowel removed. This can and is catastrophic.
Medications such as : anti-inflammatories, steroids, antibiotics, anti-diarrhea, immune suppressive drugs and modulation medications have been tried. However as stated above more than 2/3 of the patients require surgery and up to 10% will die form this disease.
Patients that develop diarrhea often develop several deficiencies in nutrients often leading to lacking the building blocks that their bodies need. These include : minerals, proteins, vitamins, fats and calories. For example many patients lack vitamin B,C and D.
Food allergy testing should be performed since there are elevated levels in blood markers showing an inflammatory process is present in the patients body.
Since these patients often are nutritionally depleted a broad spectrum vitamins, minerals should be replaced. These include : zinc, Vitamin B2,B6,B3, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin C just to name a few.
Often chemotherapeutic agents ( like what is used in cancer) are used. These medications have many untoward side effects !!!!!
Alternative Integrative and Functional Medical Treatments involve : eliminating foods that are or show signs of causing or exacerbating the disease along with using several natural substances like : Enteromend, Moducare and Low Dose Naltrexone.
Enteromend is a compound made by Thorne Pharmaceuticals. It contains the following ingredients: Glutamine, Aloe, Curcumin ands Boswella. It functions in gastrointestinal repair, producing butyrate for healing the cells ( enterocytes), anti-inflammatory properties, mucous production to coat and cushion the cells for healing and producing fiber to give nutrition to the enterocytes.
Moducare is a plant sterol ( plant steroid ). It is natural and its has natural properties to affect the cells dealing with fighting infections. Specifically it affects the T-cells ( both T-1 and T-2) that work again in immune function.
Finally patents may require low dose naltrexone. This is a narcotic agonist antagonist. It is similar to naloxone which is used in narcotic overdoses. This medication has shown have great benefit not only in Crohn’s disease but other auto immune diseases. It not only assists as an anti inflammatory and pain killer but also as a “nerve cell modulator”
A Board Certified Integrative and Functional Medicine physician can and will treat patients with these natural supplements along with other alternatives.