Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Crohn's disease is a disease of the bowel that is closely related to ulcerative colitis . The two are grouped in a category called inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) , because they both involve inflammation of the digestive tract.
The major symptoms of Crohn's disease include fever, non-bloody or bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue. The rectum may be severely affected, leading to fissures, abscesses, and fistulas (hollow passages). Intestinal obstruction can occur, and over time fistulas may develop in the small bowel. Other complications include gallstones, increased risk of cancer in the small bowel and colon, and pain in or just below the stomach that mimics the pain of an ulcer. Arthritis, skin sores, and liver problems may develop as well.
Crohn's disease tends to wax and wane, with periods of remission punctuated by severe flare-ups. Medical treatment aims at reducing symptoms and inducing and maintaining remission.
Sulfasalazine is one of the most commonly used medications for Crohn's disease. Given either orally or as an enema, it can both decrease symptoms and prevent recurrences. Corticosteroids such as prednisone are used similarly, sometimes combined with immunosuppressive drugs such as azathioprine. In severe cases, partial removal of the bowel may be necessary.
Another approach involves putting people with Crohn's disease on an elemental diet. This involves special formulas consisting of required nutrients but no whole foods. Sometimes, after a period on such a diet, whole foods can be restarted one at a time.
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
Several natural treatments have shown promise for Crohn’s disease, but none have been proven effective.
Note : While these are promising findings, it must be kept in mind that a great many treatments that show promise in a single study fail to hold up in subsequent independent testing. Additional research will be needed to establish wormwood as a helpful treatment for Crohn’s disease. In addition, there are concerns that wormwood might have toxic effects in some people. See the full Wormwood article for more information.
probioticSaccharomyces boulardii Lactobacillus Lactobacilli
Various herbs and supplements may interact adversely with drugs used to treat Crohn’s disease. For more information on this potential risk, see the individual drug articles in the Drug Interactions section of this database.
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 08/2013 -
- Update Date: 08/22/2013 -