Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease or IBD) are painful, debilitating conditions that affect about 1.6 million Americans.
Although people sometimes confuse them, there are distinct differences between the two.
Ulcerative colitis (UC)
Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon (large intestine) and/or rectum.
Typical symptoms are poor digestion, explosive bowel movements (as many as 30 or more a day!) rectal bleeding and pain.
With UC, you stand about a one in four chance of needing surgery at some point--removal of some your colon.
But even then you’re not home free because UC can "move down the road" and strike another area of the colon.
Crohn's can strike ANY area of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, but it usually affects the lower end of the small intestine (the ileum).
Common Crohn's symptoms include abdominal pain and explosive diarrhea. You can also develop constipation, fevers lasting 24-48 hours, canker sores, clubbed fingernails and be prone to intestinal blockages.
And since your small intestine is where most nutrient absorption takes place, Crohn’s patients are prone to weight loss, malnutrition and deficiency diseases.
Crohn's burrows deeper into your intestinal wall than UC does, and eventually can cause little "canals" called fistulas to form between your intestine and other organs.
This creates a path for wastes and toxins to seep out and impair the health of your other organs.
It's a mystery
IBD is very much a mystery because there isn't just one clear-cut cause.
First of all, IBD is considered an autoimmune condition--meaning your immune system sees normal tissue in your intestinal tract as a dangerous invader and launches an attack.
There is also a genetic component. Studies have shown that a person with a first-degree relative with IBD is up to 10 times more likely to develop the disease.
Medication use is also a factor, especially with antibiotics, birth control pills and NSAIDS. These medications upset your flora balance and make you far more susceptible to infection, inflammation and disease.
Food sensitivities and lactose intolerance have also been shown to play a role in the development of IBD.
Although the potential underlying causes of IBD are many, the typical remedies are just two--drugs (steroids and immunosuppressors) and surgery.
Steroids can help reduce the inflammation, but they also can cause a wide variety of side effects, including bone loss, folic acid deficiency, low cortisol levels and increased risk of lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system).
Immunosuppressive drugs may help to "quiet" the immune reaction going on, but then you're lacking the protection of your immune system--and are far more susceptible to viruses, infections and disease.
And the health price of surgery? Well, losing some or all of your intestines and possibly getting a J-pouch or colostomy is traumatic, plus IBD can recur after surgery!
The risks are growing too
Unfortunately, the risks associated with IBD are growing….and now include an increased risk of heart disease.
According to a study presented by Mayo Clinic researchers, patients with IBD have a 10-25 percent increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Although this finding is disturbing, it’s not surprising.
You see, both IBD and heart disease are characterized by chronic inflammation—it’s just showing up in two different locations. With IBD it’s your GI tract and with heart disease it’s your blood vessels.
Once your body is challenged by chronic inflammation in ANY form, it’s very easy for inflammation to expand and infiltrate other organ systems.
Natural IBD relief
Even though IBD is largely a mystery, one thing that is for certain is that there are very effective strategies for counteracting it that can leave you feeling a WHOLE lot better!
Here are 3 safe, easy and effective strategies that can help bring relief to IBD sufferers:
1- Encourage sound digestion
Encouraging sound digestion and nutrient absorption is essential for IBD sufferers.
And a great way to help is to eat nutrient-packed meals that your body can more efficiently break down!
When digestion can be accomplished more easily, your wastes can move through the intestines smoothly like they should--with less chance of constipation, diarrhea, excessive gas or irritation.
In the Great Taste No Pain and Great Taste No Gluten systems, you’ll learn how to structure delicious, nutritious meals to encourage easier digestion, help nourish your body, help minimize irritation and increase your chances of feeling great after eating.
2- Strengthen your gut wall
For people with IBD, it's important to have a strong gut wall and help keep harmful bacteria in check.
Step 1 is having a nutritious diet (including vegetables, fruits and whole grains) to nourish and encourage a healthy friendly flora base.
However, experts also recommend supplementing with probiotic strains from both the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria species.
And Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula fits the bill.
Super Shield contains potent, top-quality strains of both Lactobacillus (which reside in the small intestine) and Bifidobacteria (that live in the large intestine), so your entire intestinal tract is covered!
In addition, the amino acid glutamine has also been shown to help enhance gut wall strength.
Glutamine is found in foods such as beans, red meat, nuts, and fish. Supplements are also available in health food stores and pharmacies. Experts recommend starting with a dosage of 8 grams a day and working up to 20 grams a day.
3- Keep inflammation low
Keeping inflammation low in the intestines is vital for IBD sufferers.
And a great way to help tame inflammation in any area of the body is to engage the power of Nature’s anti-inflammatory—Omega-3 essential fatty acids!
For a top-quality pharmaceutical-grade Omega-3 fish oil supplement, VitalMega-3 is your ticket.
VitalMega-3 is a potent, pharmaceutical-grade fish oil formula that delivers 1,000 mg of the recommended EPA and DHA essential fatty acids in every daily 2-capsule serving.
Not only can these precious Omega-3 EFAs help ease intestinal inflammation, but also help curb other aches and pains as well, and even help lower blood pressure!
If you’ve got IBD, put the power of safe, natural measures to work for you and see the tremendous difference it can make in how you feel!
To your health,