What is IBD?
The key word in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is inflammation. Inflammation is now considered to be the underlying causative factor in most all chronic illnesses. When inflammation involves the gastrointestinal (digestive) tract over a long period of time, it can lead to the development of IBD.
IBD is an autoimmune inflammatory disorder where the inflammation occurring in your gastrointestinal tract is caused by your immune system attacking aspects of your own tissues. It involves chronic inflammation of all or part of your digestive tract. It primarily includes ulcerative colitis, microscopic colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
These disorders usually involve severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, weight loss, blood in the stool, and sometimes severe arthritis. IBD can be debilitating and can lead to life-threatening complications if not managed well. Generally, IBD is not curable but it is manageable.
The key to managing IBD in all disciplines of medicine is to reduce and /or eliminate the inflammation. At our clinic, we approach the management of IBD in a slightly different manner than the conventional medical approach. We manage IBD in a very integrative way employing dietary modifications, nutritional medicine and support, lifestyle changes, and botanical medicines such as curcumin. We also employ conventional treatments and prescribe commonly used anti-inflammatory medicines such as prednisone, Lialda and azathioprine as needed to control inflammation.
There is another key to managing IBD that makes our approach to management a bit different than the conventional model. We like to identify various dietary and infectious causes or activators of inflammation in the gut that may contribute to inflammation. We test for food immune reactions and allergies, imbalances in the gut bacterial environment, gluten intolerance, and other infectious causes. We also test for nutritional imbalances that can further contribute to chronic inflammation. While we correct for these factors, we will also explore psycho-emotional aggravators.
Further, we stress the co-management of IBD with gastroenterology specialists and are often on the phone with those specialists consulting with them, referring our patients to them, or just simply discussing our mutual patients with them. We have an excellent working relationship with many gastroenterologists in the area and have for many years.