Crohn’s disease is a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD, a chronic inflammatory disease of the GI tract) that causes inflammation—irritation or swelling—in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Most commonly, Crohn’s affects the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine. However, the disease can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus.
In Crohn’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy bacteria in the GI tract. Chronic inflammation causes thickening of the intestinal wall, which triggers the symptoms. Crohn’s disease can develop and worsen over time due to a large number of contributing factors such as food, emotions, mindset, stress and overall lifestyle.
Symptoms of the disease vary from person to person, depending on the type of Crohn’s – ie severity of the inflammation and where it occurs in the GI tract.
The most widespread form is called ileocolitis, which affects the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine. Symptoms include pain in the lower or middle part of the abdomen. Diarrhea and weight loss are common. Ileitis affects only the ileum, but causes the same symptoms.
Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease manifests in the beginning of the small intestine (duodenum) and the stomach. The main symptoms are loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting, which can result in loss of weight. Jejunoileitis causes areas of inflammation in the upper part of the small intestine (jejunum). It can cause severe abdominal pain and cramping, especially after eating. Another symptom is diarrhea.
When Crohn’s affects only the colon, it is called Crohn’s granulomatous colitis. This type of Crohn’s causes diarrhea and rectal bleeding. Patients may develop abscesses and ulcers in the area of the anus. Other symptoms include joint pain and skin lesions.
Other general symptoms of Crohn’s include fatigue, fever, and night sweats. Some patients experience an urgent need to move their bowels. Constipation can also be a problem. Women may have an interruption in their menstrual cycle. Young children may have delayed development.
Crohn’s disease is often mistaken with Ulcerative Colitis, but Crohn’s can be far more severe and lead to a host of other issues. Although Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis share many similarities, there are key differences between the two diseases.
How are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Similar?
- Both diseases often develop in teenagers and young adults although the disease can occur at any age
- Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis affect men and women equally
- The symptoms of Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis are very similar
Differences Between Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
The differences between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are:
- Crohn’s disease can occur anywhere between the mouth and the anus while Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon and large bowel.
- In Crohn’s disease, there are healthy parts of the intestine mixed in between inflamed areas. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, is continuous inflammation of the colon
- Crohn’s disease can occur in all the layers of the bowel walls while Ulcerative colitis only affects the inner lining of the colon
Approximately 10% of cases of inflammatory bowel diseases exhibit the features of both Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. These are typically known as indeterminate colitis.
Click here for more information on the difference between Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
How Crohn’s Disease Relates to Food…
Modern practitioners of integrative medicine increasingly consider Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis to be primarily lifestyle diseases (See An Integrative Approach to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Alternative Treatments for Crohn’s Disease, and 6 Ways to Naturally Manage Ulcerative Colitis).
These diseases are rapidly on the rise in the western world. This stems from the fact that the traditional western diet is loaded with processed sugars, carbohydrates and additives, which promotes the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
As it is a digestive disorder, food plays a major role in the onset of this condition as does the state of the immune system, of which the gut hosts the majority of components. When our gut microbiome is out of balance and disturbed due to stress, medication, toxins, processed food, alcohol, cigarettes, it begins to struggle with absorbing nutrition from food.
As a result, food particles are leaked through the gut wall and into the blood stream where elevated antibodies are produced such as the TNF (Tumor necrosis factor), which is a cell signalling protein that releases systemic inflammation in the body. It is this process that creates the autoimmune response of an inflamed bowel.
But what is the trigger? What elevates the TNF? Can this response from the body be seen as a protection mechanism attempting to awaken the patient that something is wrong?
These are the questions I have been asking myself for years…
Typically, the condition progresses by developing a ‘leaky gut’ with a host of symptoms such as excessive gas, bloating, cramps, mental fog and poor concentration, joint pain and skin rashes which then takes you down the path of food sensitivities. Your body, the genius it is, is giving you a big red warning light.
According to mainstream doctors and gastroenterologists, there is no ‘scientific evidence’ that food is linked to this autoimmune nightmare – medical doctors are caught between an intellectual rock and a corporate hard place. And there is no doubt there is much suppression of information surrounding this issue due to the profits that the pharmaceutical company makes from many of these immune suppressing drugs.
The immunosuppressant drugs involved with this condition are powerful and can be effective, and they did thankfully buy me time to look for other options. In fact, I was so far gone that the drugs actually saved my life.
However they are NOT not a long term solution if that is what you are after and if your gastroenterologist is telling you that food/dietary and lifestyle changes – as well as many other healing modalities – do not matter, just from the fact that they have no scientific evidence, then they are doing you a grave disservice.
You need to address the lifestyle issues as SOON as you start to get into trouble. You shouldn’t wait until it gets so bad that you need immunosuppressant drugs.
Gut And Emotional Issues
Getting back to the western world and how Ulcerative Colitis and other gastrointestinal disorders are on the rise, a lot of this comes down to many factors such as how we live a very fast pace lifestyle, with high stress, and minimal time to rest, repair and just be. Also, it is clear now from the wise words of Hippocrates ‘all disease begins in the gut’.
There is another major piece to the pie in the gut health arena which is our emotional health. Much of our subconscious emotions are stored in our gut. Very few are aware of this important truth.
I would highly recommend going down this path and reading the book ‘The Secret Language of your Body’ by Inna Segal. Segal talks about the emotions behind every disease, disorder and illness. The following “emotions behind disease” descriptions are from this amazing book.
Colitis: Difficulty digesting life. Apprehension; suppressing painful emotions instead of dealing with them. A cry for help. Feeling defeated and worthless. Wanting to give up or give in. Feeling that it is all too much to cope with. Difficulty seeing other people’s points of view. Great need for approval and to be right.
Crohns Disease: Negative attitude and criticism, constant self-abuse. A tendency to see life from a gloomy or cynical perspective. Trying to suppress rather than allowing to feel uncomfortable feelings. Constantly hiding your sensitivity; pretending to be confident and undisturbed by other people’s comments while feeling sick on the inside. A tendency to blame others and feel like a victim.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Unbalanced, too serious and controlling. Focused on the negative. Judgmental, opinionated, easily irritated. Difficulty trusting others. Holding onto outdated beliefs and ideas. Confusion, loss of directions and not knowing which way to turn.
It is crucial to recognise and then clear the emotion behind any disease. I have listed many healing modalities under my ‘Super Emotions’ page which is part of my Super Life Formula. Emotional Freedom Technique – otherwise known as EFT – completely transformed my life and I owe a vast majority of my own personal healing to that.
The Super Life Formula is the most intelligent way to tackle the root cause of Ulcerative Colitis and other gut-related disorders. The Super Life Formula empowers you with the knowledge to understand your body’s unique signs, language and signals as well as giving you the tools to rebuild and repair your gut so you can digest your food and combine Super Emotions and Super Scent to clear negative emotions, beliefs and thought patterns – so you can get back on track and achieve the highest quality of life.
I have done it myself, and now it’s your turn. I want to see you pick up the pieces, figure out your own unique pie to health and thrive!
Peace, Love, Health
Read more about Autoimmune Disease on SuperFoodsam.
The information included on this page is for educational purposes only, and is based on the author’s own personal journey and experiences. It is not intended, or implied, to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease or illness. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information in this blog or website does not create a physician-patient relationship.
GAPS™ AND GUT AND PSYCHOLOGY SYNDROME™ ARE THE TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT OF DR. NATASHA CAMPBELL-MCBRIDE. THE RIGHT OF DR. NATASHA CAMPBELL-MCBRIDE TO BE IDENTIFIED AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS WORK HAS BEEN ASSERTED BY HER IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COPYRIGHT, PATENT AND DESIGNS ACT 1988 OR ANY OTHER LAW.