Updated: Nov 3, 2020
Inflammatory bowel disease is reported to be a world-wide healthcare problem with a steadily increasing incidence (1.) This is a situation where inflammation sets in within the intestinal tract. There are two specific diseases that fall into this category, and those are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Lets break these down and address some solutions to get relief naturally.
Crohn's disease is characterized by inflammatory processes that occur in any area of the digestive tract. The small and large intestine are both included in its distribution and it can lead to transmural lesions. This means that the entirety of the gut wall can be affected by Crohn's disease. Oftentimes there can be occult blood found in stool, especially in the case of the inflammation being confined more to the small intestine. Oftentimes those affected will report symptoms such as: abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue and fever. Crohn's can also lead to issues outside of the intestines due to leaky gut and permeability issues, such as: inflammation of the skin, joints, eyes as well as inflammatory issues of the liver and gallbladder. A definitive cause is not readily addressed from the medical literature, however it's speculated that there are immune system aberrations from pathogenic microorganisms that can influence certain genes to be turned on triggering the symptoms.
Ulcerative colitis is a condition where inflammation is located in the large intestine and rectum. It's typically confined to the innermost wall of the colon and because of that oftentimes frank blood can be seen in the stool. There are similar symptoms seen with ulcerative colitis as there are with Crohn's. We observe things like: fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, weight loss, rectal pain and diarrhea. Causes are thought to be due to immune system aberrant responses to viruses and bacterium present in the colon. These aberrant responses can lead to our body's cells attacking our own tissues and thus working in a similar fashion to autoimmune diseases. The symptoms can be extra-intestinal as well and can lead to inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints. Due to the nature of the blood loss in stool, people can be at risk for anemia and should therefore make sure blood levels of iron are monitored regularly.
I believe the incidence of these two diseases are magnified from lifestyle factors more than any kind of genetic susceptibility. The lifestyle factors can then influence the genes to respond a certain way to then bring on symptoms. But when it comes to cause, I believe dietary tendencies play a major role. We know that gluten, conventional dairy, processed and hydrogenated vegetable oils as well as refined sugar all contribute to inflammatory processes in the body. These can be directly egregious to our digestive tracts and lead to inflammation in the intestines. On top of that, BPA and other endocrine disruptors in plastics can play a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Household cleaning products, environmental toxins and unhealthy air quality, cosmetics as well as toxic/negative thoughts and unforgiveness/bitterness can all play a role in inflammatory processes propagating in the body. These are some of the most common causes I believe fuel inflammatory bowel disease. Removing a lot of these triggers as best as possible will result in healthier metabolic and digestive processes within the body. Adding in anti-inflammatory foods into the diet will be largely beneficial and I believe can begin to turn these conditions around (https://www.drseamus.com/post/reverse-leaky-gut-with-these-foods.)