What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines. The exact ause of the disease is not yet known; however, an imbalance in the bacteria in the gut may be the culprit. Inflammation occurs in those with Crohn’s disease when the immune system attacks certain bad bacteria that tend to plague those with the disease. The overwhelming amount of bad bacteria as well as a lack of beneficial bacteria may be responsible for the cycle of chronic inflammation that characterizes Crohn’s disease.
Unfortunately, Crohn’s disease has no medical cure. Those with Crohn’s disease usually experience periods of relapse, where inflammation increases, followed by periods of remission. Sometimes the periods of remission can last months or even years before another relapse.
Closely related to Crohn’s disease and with many of the same symptoms, Ulcerative Colitis specifically attacks the colon. Together, these two diseases affect approximately 1.4 million Americans, including about 140,000 children under the age of 18, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Men and women are equally affected and symptoms most commonly begin during adolescence and early adulthood.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Other, less common symptoms can include lack of appetite, fever, night sweats, rectal pain and rectal bleeding. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are dependent on the location, the extent and the severity of the inflammation.
Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
Unfortunately, there is no medication that can cure Crohn’s disease, so those afflicted with the disease strive to achieve and maintain periods of remission for as long as possible. At the onset of inflammation or discomfort, patients may benefit from taking antibiotics to lessen the amount of bad bacteria in the body. Unfortunately, antibiotics usually kill off good bacteria along with the bad and can lower immunity by doing so, possibly leading to an increased risk of illness or infection. Taking a probiotic supplement will help replace the good bacteria and help the body bounce back sooner.
Probiotics are live microorganisms which, when consumed in adequate amounts, provide a health benefit to the host. Affectionately known as “good bugs,” probiotics can not only help ease many of Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis symptoms during periods of relapse, but may also help preserve longer periods of remission. Taking probiotics to help maintain a balance of good bacteria and offset the inevitable bad bacteria in the digestive system should cut back on inflammation and is particularly important for those with these diseases.
When choosing a probiotic to help ease Crohn’s disease flare ups, it is important to find one that has a high number of bacteria colony forming units (CFUs) and backs its ingredients with clinical testing. There are many probiotic supplements on the market, but I recommend Vidazorb® chewable probiotic to my patients. Vidazorb® carries up to 10 billion CFUs per tablet, delivering a guaranteed high dosage of live beneficial microorganisms with each intake. Also, many over-the-counter probiotics use only one bacteria strain, in insufficient amounts to make an impact. The best products combine two to five key, researched bacteria strains that work together to best provide health benefits. It¹s important to find a supplement that works for you, but my patients tend to appreciate that Vidazorb® chewable tablets are easy to tolerate even when the stomach might feel queasy and that they don¹t need to be refrigerated, as most other probiotic supplements do.