Managing IBD

Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s are both two autoimmune conditions that are on the rise. Right now it’s estimated that around 3 million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In addition to typical autoimmune pain, during a flare, many times those with IBD find themselves running to the restroom, dealing with blood in stool, and have a severe decrease in energy. I’ve got two clients currently dealing with this dynamic, and my heart goes out to them since conventional medicines only solution seems to be a drug that may or may not bring short-term relief.


Symptoms of IBD

Many that have IBD do not know it as they’ve assumed it’s IBS, or have gotten misdiagnosed. While I don’t diagnose, I wanted to compile a short list of typical symptoms to look out for:

  • Cramping or abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nutrient deficiencies (would be noted year after year on labs)
  • Poor bone density

Causes

Well for starters, this is like any other autoimmune disease, so there are really 4 big areas to consider: diet, infections, exposures, and trauma. You can tune into my free masterclass by clicking HERE and I’ll go into detail on each of those.

Other common factors of IBD are:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Hormone therapy
  • Too many Omega 6’s (compared to Omega 3)
  • NSAID’s and PPI’s
  • A high inflammatory diet
  • Dysbiosis (an imbalance of bacteria)
  • Histamine
  • And measles are actually a common cause of Crohn’s

Healing

Of course conventional medicine will prescribe medications to help with any pain or inflammation. Unfortunately, those aren’t a long-term answer, but instead meant as triage. You’ve got to get to the underlying causes in order to actually heal the body. Here are some areas where you can get started:

First, as always, start with diet. I often suggest an elimination diet for this, meaning no gluten (and sometimes no grains), dairy, corn, soy, sugar or eggs for four weeks, and then a strategic reintroduction. Others need something like the SCD or GAPs diet. In general, I advise working on eliminating inflammatory foods and maximizing whole foods.

Stress also needs to be addressed, as it’s a massive trigger for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s. Many clients report that stress is high right before a flare. While you can’t always eliminate stressors, learning to say no, daily prayer and/or meditation, and emotional regulation goes a long way.

Toxins need to be minimized. This is an often ignored area since people assume that toxins are everywhere and nothing can be done about it. They certainly are everywhere, but we can minimize them greatly. I have my clients look at an array of potential exposures including skin and beauty products, cleaning products, and even toxic beliefs.

Ensure glutathione, folate, and Omega 3 levels are all optimal. Additionally, other supplement I often suggest are l-glutamine to help with intestinal cells, aloe vera juice, and boswellia.

And finally, gut health. Yeast overgrowth is very common with IBD, as well as parasites and dysbiosis. When you clean up the gut, healing begins to happen, and for many it happens very quickly. Probiotics are useful along with fermented foods. And for someone with IBD, I would always suggest a comprehensive stool test (I use the GI Map) to see what’s going on ‘under the hood.’ That way you can tailor a diet and supplement routine to exactly what’s happening in the body.