Dr. Carolyn Chambers Clark, Award-Winning Author and Wellness Nurse Practitioner

Colitis/Crohn's - Wellness and Selfcare Approaches

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What are inflammatory bowel diseases like colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and Crohn's disease?

 

Colitis is an inflammation of the colon or large intestine. Ulcerative colitis is characterized by spells of bloody or mucus diarrhea, fever, an increased urgency to defecate, and mild to excruciating abdominal cramps. Crohn's disease affects the small and large intestine, producing fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloody bowel movements and other symptoms. Growing evidence suggests that diet and nutritional supplements can help. Many people with inflammatory bowel disease also have IBS (abdominal pain and discomfort, abdominal bloating and swelling and diarrhea and/or constipation).

 

What wellness and selfcare measures have been found to help colitis and Crohn's disease?

 

*  Take acidophilus (from a health food store) daily to restore the overgrowth of Clostridia difficile, an organism that can cause relentless colitis. You can also eat 2 or more cups of organic plain yogurt or kefir. Add a few drops of stevia to sweeten it to taste. Stevia is a herb, a natural sweetener, with no calories and no side effects, which also has healing properties for infection and inflammation. (See stevia article to your left for more information.)

 

*  Eliminate sweets, except stevia, alcohol and caffeine. All can irritate your intestinal lining. A teaspoon or two of honey a day may be beneficial to healing.

 

*  If you have a lactase deficiency, don't eat diary products. These can trigger an inflammation of your intestine. Except plain organic yogurt, which can help because it has the good bacteria your digestive system needs to function well. Add some stevia to sweeten it up a bit and a cup or more of blueberries, which also help reduce inflammation.

 

*  Eat foods high in essential fatty acids. These substances can prevent an inflamed bowel and are found in green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, and walnuts.

 

*  Eat oily fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel or take fish oil capsules (health food store item). The oils in fish affect immune response and decrease inflammation.

 

*  Omit all cereal grains (wheat, oats, corn, rice, barley, millet) and limit sugars (sucrose, lactose, fructose) and yeast in any form (check labels).

 

*  Take a multi-vitamin tablet that contains zinc, selenium, magnesium, folic acid and other B-vitamins, and vitamin E. All of these vitamins and minerals help heal the intestines.

 

*  Take 4 ounces of aloe vera gel or juice (health food store items) after you eat to soothe your digestive tract. Fennel tea is also good.

 

*  Focus your meals around fresh fruit and loads of green leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss chard, escarole, parsley, spinach, etc). This kind of high vegetable protein diet (with no dairy foods) has been shown to reduce bowel inflammation in Crohn's disease. Add dried beans (pinto, black, kidney, etc. and/or peanuts)  to brown rice for a complete protein.

 

*  Stress is usually a factor. Identify what's stressing you and eliminate it and learn relaxation techniques.(See article to your left on using affirmation and imagery) for ideas. Move more. At least 15,000 steps a day; buy a pedometer and wear it on your wrist or ankle to count your movement. Shrug your shoulders, raise your fingers toward the ceiling and down toward the floor, twist your upper body left and right at least once an hour, pretend you're playing a piano keyboard from the center and out to the highest key and then back to the center at least 5 times, even if seated.  Exercise reduces stress and assists with circulation.

 

*  Use extra virgin olive oil for cooking and for salad dressings or coconut oil. Olive oil contains potent antioxidants to protect your intestines. Never eat fried foods, though, they irritate your digestive tract.

 

*  Consider taking oral zinc sulfate supplements of 110 mg three times a day for 8 weeks. One study found that tightens up the leaky gut syndrome in Crohn's disease, improving your intestinal function. Stop taking the zinc after 8 weeks because too much zinc can reduce your immune function.

 

* To relieve "leaky gut syndrome" try this daily. 1. Rub medium/hard from your left chest across your upper left arm 5 or more times with your right palm. 2. Simultaneously, rub your the top of your left thigh from hips to knees with left hand and your right thigh up and down with your right hand 20 times. 3. Use you right thumb to find the sore spot a couple inches below the back of the knee and to the right. Feel around with your thumb until you find it, then massage with thumb until pain is gone; to stabilize your thumb, you can grasp the side/front of you right leg with the other fingers of your right hand. 

 

What self-care measures have been shown to help IBS?

 

*Eat 5-10 fruits and vegetables daily, brown rice, peanuts, dried beans and peas to increase your fiber intake.

 

*Use psyllium powder daily to regulate bowel movements (health food item; follow directions on label).

 

*Avoid alcohol and tobacco, which irritate the linings of the stomach and colon.

 

*To relieve gas, use charcoal tablets (health food store item).

 

*Acidophilus (health food store item) to replenish the "friendly" bacteria in the gut.

 

*Aloe vera (health food store item) 3-4 ounces 3 times a day on an empty stomach to soothe the digestive track.

 

*Whenever possible, avoid the use of antibiotics, antacids, and laxatives which disturb the bacterial flora in your bowel. If you must take them, follow them with multidophilus (good bacteria for digestive tract) capsules or eat plain organic yogurt daily.

 

*Take a B complex capsule of 50-100 mg 3X a day with meals to help absorb and digest foods.

 

*Take Kyolic (garlic) in the liquid form (health food item) to aid in digestion and destroy toxins in the colon.

 

*Daily eat  flaxseed and psyllium seeds, but avoid wheat, which has an irritating effect on the colon.

 

*If you have diarrhea, take a hypoallergenic multivitamin daily.

 

*Take flaxseed or primrose oil (health food item; follow label directions) to protect your intestinal lining

 

*Take proteolytic enyzmes, with high pancreatin and low HCL(health food store item) to aid in protein digestion and reduce inflammation.

 

*Take milk thistle (silymarin) to add in liver cleansing (health food item with no known side effects).

 

*Chew your food well and don't eat and watch TV or do work. Turn on Mozart or Brahms or have a pleasant, enjoyable conversation with a family member or friend.

 

*Avoid eating after dinner. Let your food digest before lying down.

 

*Practice deep breathing exercises to improve bowel function.

 

 

This article is for information sources only and is abstracted from C.C. Clark's American Holistic Nurses' Guide to Common Chronic Conditions: Self-Care that Complements Your Doctor's Advice, John Wiley, 2003 (http://www.amazon.com/.)

and was updated October, 2016 via How to Heal Crohn's disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/10/10/inflammatory-bowel-disease-symptoms.aspx?utm_source=dnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art1&utm_campaign=20161010Z1&et_cid=DM122488&et_rid=1703016208  

 

Copyright 2003, 2016, Carolyn Chambers Clark

 

Think positive and you'll be positive!

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