Helpful Treatments for Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) can affect anyone – even children. Sufferers can find themselves on a growing list of medications and facing surgery to remove part or all of the colon.

However, integrative doctors and natural therapists are finding improvement and a degree of recovery, through using:

• An individualised diet

• Identifying food sensitivities

• Selected herbs and nutrients

• Probiotic therapy

• Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)

Diet

While certain foods may not be the cause of IBD, eliminating the troublemakers can help to improve symptoms. You can find out about which foods you might be sensitive to through careful observation. If you are sensitive to one or two foods, you have probably already noticed your symptoms get worse after eating those foods. If, however, you are sensitive to a lot of foods, it not possible to pinpoint them all and food sensitivity testing is needed. The tests are IgG (Immunoglobulin G) for general food sensitivity and IgA (Immunoglobulin G) for foods that cause gut inflammation. Both involve a single blood test and can be done together. The results provide a clear guide for which foods you need to eliminate completely (or not) and offers a ‘rotation diet’, so you can have some foods some of the time, without getting negative reactions.

Probiotic Therapy

Probiotic supplements are best when they have been matched with your gut bacteria. Your health professional can order a Complete Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) that gives you a report on the bacterial make up of your gut, or ‘microbiome’. Using the CDSA results, you can be prescribed a probiotic that provides exactly what you need, with no guesswork. A CDSA can also show how well you are digesting food, so that digestive enzymes and other digestive aids can be given if needed.

Faecal Microbiota Transplantation (FMT)

You know what a heart, liver or kidney transplant is, so, yes. A faecal transplant means getting someone else’s poo. Research shows that FMT is beneficial in many cases of IBD, and it is growing in popularity.

There are obstacles to getting FMT; it is not offered to many patients (laws vary from country to country) and it is right up the scale for the ‘yuk’ factor. The limitation on availability has meant that IBD sufferers are left to find a way of receiving FMT outside of their medical system, before they resort to surgery.

This situation has led to a growing international community of people taking their health into their own hands and doing their own FMT. While it is preferable to receive FMT under medical supervision, when there is no alternative, some people feel that they have no other option than to try FMT themselves. It is always preferable to undergo such procedures under medical supervision. Some integrative doctors may offer this treatment.

Resources:

The Fecal Transplant Foundation is run by a team of gastroenterologists, infectious disease physicians, naturopaths and recovered patients. Their mission is to provide support to those looking into FMT, promote research and raise awareness of this treatment.

• The Faecal Transplant Guide Book – by Sky Curtis, a mother who carefully researched and cured her son of Crohn’s disease using faecal transplants.

•  The Power of Poop, – success stories and a database of clinics that offer FMT.

• There are two success stories in Good News for People with Bad News;  a 35-year-old man with ulcerative colitis who is now relatively drug and symptom free after FMT and probiotics, and a woman in her 20s with Crohn’s disease, who used diet, probiotics and FMT and is now “mostly better”.

When dietary and probiotic therapy are used under medical supervision, people with IBD have the possibility of reducing medications, improving symptoms and recovering.

It could be well worth looking into other potentially helpful treatments before considering medications and the permanence of surgery.