28 Jan 2011
- Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Dr. Timothy Moore
Ph.D., N.M.D., C.N.
The two most common inflammatory bowel diseases are ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. Both diseases have one thing in common: They have an abnormal response to the body’s immune system.
When dealing with the digestive system, one question stands out: “What is a normal bowel movement.”
Regular means not going to the restroom after each meal. And an irregular bowel movement can have a serious and dangerous affect on your life. Hence, Crohn’s disease and colitis must be taken seriously because of their dire complications.
What is Crohn’s disease?
It’s a condition of chronic inflammation in the gastric intestinal tract. One of the main points that sufferers make is that they don’t seem to have a regular bowel movement. A bowel movement is a normal way of life, but not to those who can’t have one for weeks at a time.
Irregular bowel movement can cause health-related problems such as pimples, unexplained rashes, headaches, achy joints, hair loss and irritability. Some of these health-related problems are caused by toxins that build up in the intestines. Pressure has to be released somewhere, and usually it is released through the body in a way that is not pleasant.
Some symptoms are abdominal pain, constipation, vomiting, weight loss (or weight gain), and diarrhea, which may be bloody and may not be visible to the naked eye. Even though Crohn’s is an infection, it is not clear what really causes the infection.
Crohn’s disease normally appears in people age 20 to 40 years old. It also has been known to appear in children and older adults. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 400,000 to 500,000 people suffer from the disease. When it strikes teenagers, there usually is a need for emotional counseling, because teenagers do not really understand the severity of the disease, and there is the pressure of just wanting to be just a normal teenager.
What is ulcerative colitis?
It’s the inflammation of the lining of the colon. Some of the noticeable signs are headaches, stomach pains and diarrhea, which is associated with blood in the stool. There is usually some correlation between colitis and lifestyle. Depression or anxiety and some degree of emotional stress could be signs of the severity of colitis or Crohn’s disease.
A therapeutic diet for these conditions varies from person to person. But recent studies have shown that some foods tend to irritate or inflame the intestines: wheat products, dairy, red meat, citrus fruits, cauliflower, cabbage, spices, fish, poultry, saturated fats, flour, yeast, sugars, and sugar substitutes.
Various juices that are squeezed from peaches, pears and apples, which contain fructose, also can irritate or inflame the intestines. Pastries sometimes can have the same affect on irritable bowel sufferers.
The best way to find out which foods are good for you is to eliminate the foods that you suspect cause the flareup or an issue with your digestive system or bowels. Be not dismayed. There is hope. But there must be a lifestyle change in order to overcome many of the health issues that sufferers endure when grappling with colitis or Crohn’s disease.
For example, sufferers must drink pure fresh water daily to allow the system to flush toxins out of the body. The lack of water intake on a daily basis could prove detrimental. Juices, tea and sodas are not substitutes for water either.
Another key component is exercise. Exercising is important in helping the body improve its digestion. It also helps to relieve stress, which can and usually is a major component when grappling with colitis or Crohn’s disease.
When eating food that’s not processed but prepared fresh with all the salt and fat substances removed, the body has the capability of healing itself. A plant-based diet coupled with a stress-free lifestyle is just as important in the healing process.
When faced with colitis or Crohn’s disease, the outcome does not have to be embarrassing. The key to healing is a lifestyle change and knowing what to eat and what not to eat. Remember to listen to your body; it has the answers.