At our clinic our Toronto naturopaths have helped many people to overcome or manage symptoms from a variety of digestive disorders. In fact, through our years of experience we have managed to come up with a 3 phase protocol that can help to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. We’ve written some blog posts already about conditions like acid reflux (GERD), IBS, and SIBO. We want to continue talking about digestive disorders as this is the number one reason people give us a call. The next couple of weeks we want to talk about Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – what is it, how it’s treated, and how we can help to manage symptoms.
What is IBD?
IBD is an umbrella term that is used to describe chronic inflammatory disorders that occur in the digestive tract. The two common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Ulcerative colitis causes inflammation and sores (referred as ulcers) in the lining of the large intestine (colon). Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation that occurs in the lining of the digestive tract.
Both of these conditions can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, cramping and bleeding with stools. Weight loss and low nutrient levels can also result. Although the exact cause of IBD is unknown, it is recognized that diet and stress can aggravate symptoms and make them worse. Some factors that can put you at risk for IBD are age, family history, smoking, and the use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) – such as Ibuprofen.
These types of IBD diseases are considered autoimmune diseases because the person’s immune system tries to attacks the healthy cells in the digestive tract, not just invading viruses and bacteria. Once a diagnosis has been determined by some type of medical test, then treatment for IBD focuses on reducing inflammation in the gut. This is achieved by using different types of medications such as anti-inflammatories, and immune suppressants, anti-diarrheal, and pain medications. In some severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
There are also more natural ways to help manage symptoms from IBD by putting a focus on diet and lifestyle. We will get into more details about these, and how our naturopathic doctors can help, next week.