What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease, also known as regional enteritis, is an inflammatory bowel disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. It can cause obstructions in the intestine and ulcers in the small intestine, large intestine or rectum. It can also affect the hollow passage in-between the intestine called fistulas and can cause a crack in the skin around the anus exposing that part to infection
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
– pain in the abdomen and bloating
– Diarrhea accompanied with or without blood
– Loss of appetite
– Floating stools due to indigestion of fats
– Weight loss
– Nausea and vomiting
Crohn’s Disease can lead to complications with eyes, joints, skin and mouth.
Causes of Crohn’s Disease
There is uncertainty about the cause of Crohn’s Disease, and no definite biomedical cure exists for the disease. In a bid to accurately diagnose, procedures such as sigmoidoscopies, colonoscopies, barium enemas and capsule endoscopies and CT scans are used. The following factors such are likely responsible in its etiology:
- Failure of the immune system
- Consumption of plenty saturated fats
- Genetic makeup such as that peculiar to Scandinavian or Ashkenazim Jews shows that they are at likely risk of developing Crohn’s Disease
- Much consumption of processed foods
- Obesity and smoking are susceptible
- Diets with high sugar contents
- Urban living
- Low exposure to sunlight
Western medicine tends to manage the disease by suppressing the symptoms through medications, suggesting diets that will be beneficial to patients and advise better and healthy lifestyle.
Acupuncture Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
Acupuncture is a traditional medical practice with Chinese origin, which involves the insertion of special needles on specific points on the skin surface of the body to administer various treatments. It is imperative we consider what Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM approach is to Crohn’s Disease.
TCM classifies Crohn’s Disease into four categories namely:
Spleen & Kidney Weakness
It is characterized by diarrhea that usually starts early in the morning accompanied with cold and pains in the abdomen which reduces after a bowel movement.
Invasion of Damp
This is a burning sensation in the large intestine with symptoms such as diarrhea, blood in the stool with smelly mucus, yellow colored urine, increased frequency in bowel movement and persistent pains after, thirst for cold drinks and irritability.
This weakness is as a result of overeating cold, and raw food characterized be diarrhea, abdominal pain, poor appetite, poor digestion resulting to a watery stool with visible undigested food, pale look, fatigue.
Qi & Blood Stagnation
It is usually the advanced stage of Crohn’s Disease evident with severe pain in the abdomen and a protruding mass in the lower abdomen. Other symptoms associated with it are muscle wasting, loss of appetite and lethargy
Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
Acupuncture combined with moxibustion (burning of herbs on specific acupoints) and other dietary therapies have proven to be effective in the treatment of Crohn’s Disease, increasing the hemoglobin levels controlling the symptoms by bringing significant relief to patients.
Acupuncture therapy is combined with moxibustion technique using herbs on three acupuncture points Qihai (CV6), Tianshu (ST25) and Zhongwan (VV12). An herbal cake is placed on these points followed by the ignition of mugwort (Ai Ye) moxa cones on the herbal cake.
The combination of these natural treatments brings a significant improvement and relief to the patients. It also reduces the C-reactive proteins and increases the hemoglobin levels in the body.
The Role of Diets in Managing Crohn’s Disease
The Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM and the Western Medicine both agrees to the role diets place in the prevention and treatment Crohn’s Disease. The following diets should be carefully taken to manage this disease.
- Avoid excessive consumption of cold and raw foods. They are capable of disrupting the spleen (easy digestion of food)
- Avoid too much of roughages such as raw fruits and vegetables as they can aggravate obstruction in the intestines and cause colic (a sudden attack of abdominal pain, often caused by spasm, inflammation, or obstruction).
- Avoid food triggers found in foods. These triggers are chemicals and dyes found in food and should be avoided.
- In case you are lactose intolerant, avoid cheese, milk and other dairy products.
- Avoid smoking.