More than 3 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In general, IBD is seen in adults with other chronic health conditions like cancer, arthritis, liver disease, respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and migraines. Crohn’s disease is one of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases, with nearly half a million American’s suffering from it.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease that causes your digestive tract to swell and become inflamed, causing abdominal pain, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, and weight loss. Other symptoms will vary from patient to patient. Some may include:
- A feeling of fullness
- Abnormal skin tags
- Anal fistulas or fissures
- Loss of appetite
Additionally, Crohn’s can affect different portions of the digestive tract, giving rise to four “types.” These include ileocolitis, ileitis, gastroduodenal, and jejunoileitis Crohn’s disease:
- Ileocolitis is the most common type of Crohn’s, affecting the small intestine, part of the large intestine and the colon.
- Ileitis causes inflammation and swelling in the small intestine.
- Gastroduodenal occurs in the stomach and top of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
- Jejunoileitis causes sporadic areas of inflammation and swelling in the upper part of the small intestine.
Crohn’s Disease and an Imbalanced Gut Microbiome
Our gut is comprised of bacteria – some good and some bad. When our gut is imbalanced, meaning there are more bad bacteria than beneficial bacteria, our ability to absorb nutrients, regulate our blood sugar, and sleep soundly are all affected. The unbalanced gut can also become a breeding ground for autoimmune conditions, like Crohn’s disease, to flourish. An unhealthy gut microbiome increases inflammation and alters the immune system’s ability to function properly.
Dealing with Crohn’s Disease
There is no cure for Crohn’s—only treatments to help patients have a better quality of life. You can manage flare-ups, and decrease their frequency, with a few lifestyle changes:
- Avoid Advil, Aleve, and other NSAIDs and opt for Tylenol
- Quit smoking
- Work on lowering your stress level
- Simplify what you’re eating – some IBD patients have had great success with a low or no starch diet, or the Autoimmune Protocol Diet
- Cook your vegetables well and limit raw vegetables
- Lower your caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid beans and cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, and cauliflower
- Limit high fiber foods like whole grains
- Steer clear of greasy, fried food and dairy
Figuring out what foods and behaviors work well for your Crohn’s disease will take some time.
How Gut Health and Probiotics Can Help Improve Crohn’s Disease
Adding a probiotic to your routine is a quick way to ensure your body gets several good bacteria strains. When your gut is out of whack, you may be subject to more Crohn’s disease flares. But by introducing a probiotic, you will be able to lessen flares, reduce your symptoms, and get back to living life on your terms.
Our Gut Prep is a blend of prebiotics designed to eliminate harmful bacteria in your gut and make room for the good bacteria to thrive. Gut Prep contains special bacterial spores that germinate founding colonies in your gut. They work great in conjunction with any of our other probiotic blends, like Digest, which is formulated with seven clinically backed strains of bacteria that will restore digestive balance and restore your good bacteria.
Ready to learn more about which probiotic or prebiotic is best for you? Take our Gut Quiz.