There seems to be some continual confusion about the differences between Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

The main difference between the two is that Irritable Bowels Syndrome is a functional disorder, meaning there is little to no physical evidence of the disorder besides it’s symptoms. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are not functional disorders and are diagnosable based off of physical evidence. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is usually much less severe than Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Additionally “Inflammatory Bowel Disease” is not the actual name of a disease, but a classification for bowel diseases of an inflammatory nature. The two main Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn’s Disease. They are not the same thing, though they have similar symptoms & treatments.

I made this handy chart below so people can get a better idea of the differences.

A recent study by the Boston School of Medicine has found that those who are dealing with Crohn’s Disease are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D2 partially due to problems with absorbing it. The study found that those with Crohn’s had a absorption rate that was 30% lower than normal & approximately 70% of the patients had Vitamin D deficiencies. Vitamin D is often labeled as ‘the sunshine vitamin’ as it can be produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight or obtained from foods and/or in supplements.

If you’d like to try supplementing Vitamin D2 check out Now Foods’ 2000 IU Vitamin D2. Keep in mind that a lot of the Vitamin D on store or pharmacy shelves is Vitamin D3, not D2, so keep that in mind when buying a supplement.

You can review all the findings by reading the full study.

While searching the news today I saw a lot of outlets focusing in on a study recently released by the Statens Serum Institute(Denmark) about a possible link between antibiotics and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Upon looking at the abstract and the title of the study I think we have a case once again of people mistaking Irritable Bowel Syndrome for Inflammatory Bowel Disease / Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis. Continue reading “Study on Antibiotics is Related to Inflammatory Bowel Disease Not IBS” »

A recent study review found that 12 out of 16 probiotic studies saw better outcomes when using multiple probiotic strains instead of just a single strain. These studies covered many different topics such as inflammatory bowel disorder, Helicobacter pylori, gut function  & others.

I don’t find this terribly surprising as our digestive tract is teaming with all sorts bacterial flora. There is no jack of all trades probiotic that does everything for the digestive tract. There are also many different sub-strains of probiotics out there. If you go to the store you’ll probably see a lot of bottles labeled as being L. Acidophilus, however each company breeds it’s own strain(unless the companies outsourced from same lab) of L. Acidophilus so you might even get slightly different results depending on which brand you choose. There also may be a host of probiotic sub-strains we haven’t discovered yet. This is why something like fecal transplantation is interesting because it takes a working bacterial ecosystem and transplants it into someone who does not have one. It’s hard to slowly rebuild a healthy bacterial ecosystem with only a handful of bacteria, especially when we do not know which bacteria are most effective for each person & we may even be missing some.

Perhaps you’ve heard about all natural colon cleanses that cure your body by ridding toxins and built up waste in your system. Usually these colon cleansing systems are touted as miracle cures for everything from Irritable Bowel Syndrome to Crohn’s Disease to even cancers. Unfortunately the truth is that there is no ultimate or best colon cleansing program & in fact most are downright frauds. Continue reading ““Natural” Colon Cleanses May Ultimately Not Be Healthy” »

Debbie DeAngelo of GoErie.com wrote an article highlighting some interesting things about ovarian cancer which routinely goes undetected due to misinterpreting warning symptoms. I will have to admit that the symptoms are rather vague and could be hard to decipher as being related to ovarian cancer, especially for someone with a chronic digestive disease like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or Crohn’s Disease.

Some symptoms too look out for are:

“…abdominal bloating, increased abdominal size and urinary urgency.”

as well as:

“…feeling full after a small meal, unexplained weight loss, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea, fatigue and abnormal uterine bleeding.”

Factors that could put you at risk are:

…[a] personal history of breast cancer, family history of breast, uterine, ovarian or colorectal cancer, certain breast cancer genes and use of fertility drugs, especially without achieving pregnancy.

Check out the full article on GoErie.com.

Plantains at market stand.

Plantains - Photo By Daegis

Well it appears your mother may have been right about eating your broccoli, especially if you’re dealing with Crohn’s Disease. Scientists have found that people dealing with Crohn’s Disease seem to have problems with certain bacteria invading their gut, specifically a certain type of E. Coli. The fiber in Broccoli & Plantains may help block the E. Coli bacteria from being absorbed by the gut, thus reducing chances of infection & irritation.

Just what is a plantain? It’s basically a banana that isn’t sweet. In some places you can find “plantain chips” which are salted, not sweetened. As far as broccoli goes, the best way to cook

it is to steam it until it’s brilliant green, then remove it immediately. This will allow it to retain flavor & texture. I really do no like mushy broccoli. Even with these findings some people may not be able to tolerate these foods, so don’t put caution to the wind. Take it slow.

References:

University of Liverpool Press Release

I am sure your mind must be pondering, “that title doesn’t mean what I think it means”, well actually it means exactly what you’re probably thinking. The first time I heard about fecal transplantation was when my girlfriend discussed it after seeing an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I thought it was a joke, no way they would really do that. Thanks to the internet and research, it turns out it is indeed not a joke, but an actual procedure that has helped many people.

Fecal transplantation is simply taking stool from a donor who has a healthy, functional digestive system and implanting it into the affected patient. A poo slurry is created with saline, stool & in some cases added fiber. This is done with a blender(you probably won’t want to make smoothies in this thing afterward). Implantation can be done in different ways, such as via enema, colonoscopy or naso-jejunal tube. This is repeated for 5 – 10 days.

The idea behind fecal transplantation is that the sufferer with the disease is suffering from a bacterial/microbial imbalance in their digestive system. There are literally thousand and thousands of different types of microbes and bacteria in our bodies. If you are missing certain types then you will have an imbalance that will either cause problems with digesting food or allow harmful invaders to setup shop in your digestive system. Since you won’t have the good bacteria available to fight off the infection, this can cause long-term problems. This is the case with Clostridium difficile, a bacteria that is extremely hard to get rid of with normal antibiotics or by the immune system. Also in some cases Crohn’s Disease may be the bodies response to invading bacteria, but since it has trouble penetrating the gut to attack the bacteria, it instead inflicts damage on the gut itself.

One thing that is interesting is that many people who had a a history of taking antibiotics seemed more likely to see improvement after transplantation. Antibiotics are known to wipe out your bacterial flora. When I was little I went through many ear infections which involved many doses of antibiotics. I am wondering if this might play some part in my Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A lot of this is theory, but the facts are that fecal transplantation is real and has had beneficial results for many people.

Prof. Thomas Borody has been pioneering this technique in Australia at the Centre for Digestive Diseases. There hasn’t been much effort taking place in the United States, though there are some Gastro doctors who may be willing to entertain the idea. There have been suggestions that the University of Chicago has been holding focus groups regarding fecal transplants & possibly seeking a grant to do further research. There is nothing on their website right now confirming this though.

If you are in the US or UK or you’re not a character on a Grey’s Anatomy episode, you might try doing this on your own. Some enterprising individuals have taken up doing the job of doing it on their own by recruiting stool from their spouse or family. Some have had surprisingly good results as far as combating Crohn’s or Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. Here is a very informative discussion from the HealingWell.com forums with experiences from people who have done the procedure themselves.

Have you done fecal transplantation? Are you a doctor researching it? Comment or e-mail and tell me your story.

References:

There have been a lot more personal injury lawyers airing commercials about Accutane being linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This perked my interest so I hopped online to find out what was going on. There are quite a few lawyers out there offering their services for pursuing legal action against Roche Holdings(creator of Accutane). Some of these lawyers though are incorrectly stating that Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease(Crohn’s/Ulcerative Colitis) are the same thing. They are not & Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not what these lawsuits are about. Continue reading “Accutane Linked To Crohn’s / Ulcerative Colitis / Inflammatory Bowel Disease” »

Exercising for Digestive Health

March 12th, 2010 - Written by - 2 comments

Exercising for Digestive Health

If you’re suffering from a digestive ailment like IBS, IBD or GERD exercise may not be a top priority. Usually digestive ailments leave us feeling tired, sluggish & fatigued. As you probably already know exercise can be very helpful overall for your body in general & can even help symptoms when dealing with digestion. Exercise has the two-fold benefit of helping to cleanse toxins from your body as well as helping to move gas through your system so you feel less bloated.

Knowing Your Limits

This is important. Don’t over do exercise. If you haven’t been exercising recently then you should start off slow. Nothing is more discouraging than going full force into an exercise program and completely exhausting yourself or even possible hurting yourself in the process. If you’re feeling bloated, aching abs are not going to make your abdomen feel any better, nor is having to use the restroom dealing with aching hamstrings.

If you’re dealing with a more serious digestive problem where you are having trouble maintaining weight, you should not be exercising until you have your condition under control. As a general disclaimer, talk to a doctor if you have doubts or are unsure of how to continue.

Easy Low-Cost Exercises

  • Try some basic exercises like windmills, semi circles, running in place or using a jump rope. Basic slow stretching is also good as well. You can create your own 20 minute work-out with these basic items.
  • Walking is your friend. Getting out on a hike if you’re dealing with digestion problems may not be a fun idea, but if you can navigate your local neighborhood 20 – 30 minutes, 3 times a week you’ll probably gain some benefits, plus you might even get a little bit of confidence.
  • Tai-Chi & Yoga are great low impact exercises that can help not only with body, but also with mind. Check out Yoga For Beginners & Tai Chi For Beginners.
  • Inflatable Fitness Balls are the way to go if you plan on working out your core muscles. Balls provide better support for your back and lessen the wear and tear on your abs when first starting out.

Exercise Equipment

Going to the gym when dealing with digestive problems can be nerve wracking, so instead of going to the gym, there is nothing wrong with getting some equipment for your home.

Suggested Equipment:

Keep A Regimen When You Can

Try to keep a regimen or even a log of what you’ve done. If you’re not feeling well, don’t feel bad to skip exercise for that day. Listen to your body. Exercise is here to help, not hurt you!


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