Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease that is characterized by chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus. It affects nearly 500,000 people in the United States and is typically first diagnosed in patients between the ages of 15-30 years old. Crohn's disease can cause a number of symptoms including persistent diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, loss of appetite, weight loss, rectal bleeding, and may even affect other systems outside of the digestive tract such as the joints, eyes, skin, and liver.
Conventional medicine and most physicians approach the treatment of Crohn's disease in one of two ways. They use a number of different medications to suppress the inflammation that is occurring or they perform surgeries to remove the part of the digestive tract that is inflamed and/or infected. While these methods certainly have their place and have provided much needed relief for many patients suffering from Crohn's disease they do not address the cause of the inflammation in the first place. What I hope to do in the remainder of this article is two things:
1) Explain how the inflammatory process develops and progresses in Crohn's disease to help you gain a better understanding of what is occurring in the GI tract.
2) Give you some approaches to treating Crohn's disease that are aimed at slowing or stopping the inflammatory process in the first place.
Click here to read Dustin Rudolph's article.
First published November 2010
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