Crohn's disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammatory bowel disease that can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. The illness is predominantly episodic, with multiple segments of the digestive tract being inflamed simultaneously. The end section of the small intestine (the so-called terminal ileum) is primarily inflamed just before the junction with the large intestine.
In contrast to ulcerative colitis, inflammation in Crohn's disease permeates every layer of the intestinal wall. Inflammation of Crohn's disease can, therefore, more easily migrate to adjacent structures and possibly lead to pus-forming abscesses and diverticulosis. Occasionally, the inflamed intestine develops new connecting ducts (fistulas) to nearby organs such as the ovaries, the urinary bladder, and the uterus.
Frequent cramping, diarrhea-like, painful bowel movements occurring dozens of times a day, often with blood and mucus, are characteristic for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Increased body temperature and fever can occur. Nausea and vomiting may occur in cases of an inflammatory episode in the upper digestive tract.
Inflammation of the small intestine naturally leads to a diminished and limited absorption of vital nutrients. Trace elements such as iron, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc, as well as bulk elements (minerals) such as magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus are less easily absorbed. Essential vitamins and proteins can also be absorbed to a lesser extent
In addition, the frequent loss of blood coupled with the loss of nutrients leads to exhaustion, fatigue and generally reduced stamina. Weight loss is often associated with Crohn's disease.
In Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, the following laboratory tests should be conducted:
- Progression curve of the inflammation values BSG, CRP, TH1/TH2, ANA, interleukin 6, fibrinogen, alpha-2-macroglobulin
- Progression curve of the trace element profile (zinc, selenium, iodine, chromium, molybdenum)
- Progression curve of the mineral profile (magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus)
- Progression curve of omega-3 fatty acids / omega-6 fatty acids and phospholipids
- Progression curve of proteins (amino acids), in particular, glutamine and lysine
- Progression curve of the tumor markers Ca 19-9 and CEA
- Progression curve in stool: inflammation values calprotectin, zonulin as well as the tumor marker M2PK and the intestinal flora
- Progression curve of individually incompatible food/allergies (if necessary)
Naturopathic and holistic therapy is often beneficial and successful. However, it depends heavily on many individual factors of the relevant inflammation and can, therefore, vary considerably. Fundamentally it is about acid-base balance, reducing the inflammability of the mucous membranes and deeper layers with powerful natural remedies, balancing the intestinal flora, intestinal detoxification, and balancing nutrient losses with minerals, trace elements, proteins and the right mixture of essential fats. Carbohydrates, especially wheat products, should be avoided at all costs. Plenty of fresh, detoxifying water should be consumed daily.
Chronic inflammability can be effectively reduced with INUSpheresis®.
In rare cases, scarring of the intestinal wall can lead to intestinal obstruction (ileus), so that feces cannot be transported through the obstructed area. An immediate operation is necessary in such a case.
If the disease persists for a longer time, overstretching and expansion of certain areas of the intestine may occur. Rupture of the small intestine with subsequent peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum) is very rare.
As with all inflammatory diseases, inflammation from Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis can spread to other organs. In rare cases, an inflammatory nodule of the skin may develop, the so-called "erythema nodosum," or rheumatism-like inflammation in the joints and/or eyes.
As usual, university medicine suppresses the symptoms. The hyperactivation of the immune system is simply inhibited. The choice of the medication depends on the location of the inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and the degree of inflammation.
Cortisone (prednisolone)as a highly potent general anti-inflammatory in tablet form or intravenously is used where possible only during acute episodes. Otherwise, the potential side effects such as osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, eye damage, etc. are too severe.
Mesalazine is the chief representative of the aminosalicylic acids and is usually used to treat ulcerative colitis. Mesalazine's main advantage is its very poor absorption in the intestine, so that the medication acts locally in the intestine as intended, but causes no side effects in the rest of the body. They are often prescribed as tablets, suppositories or enemas on a long-term basis, both as prophylaxis and in acute episodes.
So-called immune modulators indiscriminately block the entire immune system and also block inflammation in the intestine. The main ones are 6-mercaptopurine, azathioprine, and methotrexate (MTX). Besides cortisone, methotrexate is part of the so-called basic therapy of rheumatic diseases..
Finally, there is the group of so-called biologics, which in my opinion should correctly be called chemologics, which are artificial antibodies that block excessive and abnormal activation of the immune system. This occurs not only locally in the intestine, but throughout the entire body. Some patients respond well to biologics, although long-term side effects are almost guaranteed. In other patients, the biologics are not effective because of the rapid onset of significant side effects.
Surgical interventions are only necessary in the case of (rare) intestinal obstruction, purulent inflammation, malformations of canals in surrounding tissues or scarring that has caused intestinal constriction.
There is an increased risk of cancer in all chronic inflammatory diseases. A regular colonoscopy, regular stool examinations including measurement of the inflammation values as mentioned above, the intestinal flora, the tumor marker M2-PK (in blood and stool) as well as CA 19-9 and CEA in the blood should be performed. A half-yearly progression curve of the inflammation markers in the blood should also be performed.
Naturopathic treatment proved to be successful and helpful in actual daily practice.