Crohn's Disease (CD) &
Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
These are a more serious spectrum of autoimmune digestive disorders known as “inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)”.
Both conditions are marked by inappropriate responses by the immune system, where beneficial microbes (ie. food, good bacteria and fungi) are mistaken as invaders and attacked, causing chronic inflammation in the gut, and can lead to very severe effects on the body. There’s no doubt that IBD can significantly decrease quality of life!
Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract from gums to bums, whereas Ulcerative Colitis is limited to the colon (large intestine). Both conditions share some common symptoms, and will present in alternating periods of flare-ups and remission. Active flare-ups can be very serious and may even require hospitalization.
Digestive problems can present in many different ways. Some common digestion-related conditions that Dr. Tam treats, with a high rate of success include:
- Persistent diarrhea
- Crampy abdominal pains
- Rectal bleeding
- Bloody stools
- Urgent bowel movements
- Bowel movements feel incomplete
- Anemia (due to blood loss)
- Reduced appetite & weight loss
(due to food avoidance)
- Night sweats
- Blockages of the intestines
- Increase risk of colon cancer
- May cause arthritis & eye and skin inflammation
What causes Crohn’s & UC?
IBD is considered to be a complex autoimmune disorder that is affected by a variety of factors:
- Abnormal immune system response
- Genetics – If a family member has IBD, there is an increased risk for a relative to develop it
- Environmental factors
- Dietary triggers (“leaky gut”) & stress may contribute to flare-ups
Conventional treatment usually involves the use of corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medications to control flare-ups and manage inflammation in the gut. However, these medications are often associated with strong adverse effects.
Surgery may also be recommended to remove the diseased portion of the intestines; however, lesions may reappear in another part of the gut.
How do Naturopathic Doctors treat Crohn’s & UC?
The journey to healing from autoimmune disorders like Crohn’s and UC is definitely a multi-layered process that requires a lot more than just popping a pill (or even a natural supplement!).
There is a lot that we can do to reduce the inflammation of the digestive tract, significantly improve IBD symptoms, and prevent relapses by balancing the immune system response. Naturopathic treatment can work on its own, or alongside conventional therapies.
Naturopathic treatments for IBD focus on:
- Dietary modifications to reduce inflammation & support digestion
- Nutrient therapy to correct deficiencies
- Herbs, homeopathy & nutrients to heal the gut & balance immune response
- Identify & remove triggers
- Special testing (ie. IgG food sensitivity test & Comprehensive stool analysis)
- Stress management
Dr. Freda Tam, ND is experienced with treating many digestive disorders, including Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
She will work with you to address the gut, identify the triggers, and work to rebalance and heal your digestive system.
Contact us to find out how we can help!