With this month being Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month in Australia, I would like to take this opportunity to write and share some information about how Chinese medicine can help in the management of symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. The blog has been split into two parts, with this post focused on Crohn’s and the second, to be shared later in the month, on Colitis.
Part 1 – Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic non-specific inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disease of unknown etiology, which can affect the full thickness of the intestinal wall and is characterized by deep ulceration, fissures, granulomas, fistulas and various systemic complications. The most common symptoms we see in the clinic including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and weight loss.
Combination of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Treatment
Chinese medicine has been used to treat all kinds of bowel diseases from IBS (Irritable bowel symptoms) to IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) for thousands of years. Chinese medicine practitioners use Chinese herbs and acupuncture to reduce the inflammation of Crohn’s Disease and regulate the overactive immune response that causes the recurring inflammation.
Western medicine treatments essentially consist of the administration of corticosteroids such as prednisolone, immunosuppressant and aminosalicylates. Sometimes antibiotic can be used to relieve some of the symptoms as well. Surgery is considered at some stage if the damage of inflammation has become too severe.
For mild to moderate Crohn’s Disease, Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment can help to alleviate the symptoms. They can hinder the progression of the disease and significantly improve the reading of the laboratory and colonoscopy results.
For more severe cases and patients already taking heavy medications like corticosteroids, immunosuppressant or/and antibiotic, Chinese medicine and acupuncture can be used in conjunction for a period of time until the condition has stabilize. The dosage of corticosteroids can be gradually tapered off.
The postoperative recurrence of Crohn’s Disease is still quite high. Chinese medicine can play an important role to make sure the body is at an absolutely healthy and balanced state in order to prevent the relapse of the Crohn’s Disease.
We can reduce the inflammation of Crohn’s Disease and regulate the overactive immune response with acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle and dietary modification. Although Crohns Disease can’t be cured, it can be managed successfully and get you back on the road to a better way of life.
Suggestions for the Management of Crohn’s Disease:
- Avoid milk and all dairy products
- Avoid raw/uncooked food
- Avoid cold and icy drinks
- Avoid strong tea, coffee and all other high caffeine and stimulants
- Avoid emotional stress and stressful situations
- Avoid hectic and rushing lifestyle
- Do more meditation and deep breathing exercise for relaxation
- Do more acupuncture to help with stress and improve digestive health
- Do more walking in the park and close to nature
Stay tuned for Part 2 – Treating Ulcerative Colitis.