Crohn’s Disease (CD) and Ulcerative Colitis (UC), often referred to as Crohn’s and Colitis, are the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). As the name suggests these are diseases of the digestive system involving inflammation which can be severe and damaging.
The Medical Perspective:
From the medical perspective, there is no known cause or cure for Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Physicians treat both diseases with drugs to address acute symptoms and then to induce and maintain remission. Sometimes surgery is performed. In the case of Colitis, surgical removal of the entire colon (large intestine) may stop all signs and symptoms of the disease so in a way this affects a ‘cure’, albeit a drastic one.
In 2004, R.R. Cima and J.H. Pemberton of the Mayo Clinic said in Gut magazine that, “surgery in UC is curative.” However, Mark Silverberg of Mount Sinai Hospital says that physicians in Toronto, facing one of the world’s highest rates of Crohn’s and Colitis, do not make this claim. They consider surgery a “treatment” rather than a “cure.”
Following surgery, patients may need to wear a pouch on the outside of the body to collect wastes from the intestines. Another option is to attach the small intestine to the anus, thereby creating an imitation colon. Dr. Silverberg points out that this surgery (IPAA or “J-pouch” surgery) still results in an average of 7 bowel movements per day. Up to 50% of patients experience inflammation of the small intestine after IPAA surgery. Documents from the IPAA Registry at the Boston Medical Center admit that not much is known about why patients have complications after J-pouch surgery.
A number of the symptoms of these two conditions are quite similar. Here’s a list of symptoms Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis have in common:
In contrast to Crohn’s and Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS is a functional disorder; no inflammation or damage is present in the bowel. Many of the symptoms of IBS are the same as IBD. When sufferers go to the doctor for help and the tests show no sign of inflammation or damage, patients may be given the diagnosis of IBS once other possibilities have been ruled out.
There are some typical differences between Crohn’s and Colitis that doctors look for when making a diagnosis. Many of these differences are not readily apparent to the sufferer and require medical testing to detect and assess.
Symptoms more typical of Crohn’s Disease:
Symptoms more typical of Ulcerative Colitis:
What to eat for Crohn’s and Colitis:
When you hear the word, "trauma", what pops into your mind? Memories of 9/11? Visions of tsunamis, earthquakes, war, murder, rape, or other horrors from the evening news? Maybe you flash on a serious car accident or a house fire. One thing is for sure. It's easy to understand how these events could be traumatizing and have long-lasting negative effects on your mental or physical health.
What if you've never experienced anything like that? Do all traumas involve such big, dramatic events? Trauma researchers like Dr. Robert Scaer, Peter Levine PhD, and David Berceli PhD think not.
Dr. Scaer defines a trauma as any situation where you feel your life or safety is threatened AND you feel helpless to do anything about it. This really opens up the possibilities of what you might experience as a trauma, including events that many of us think of as a "normal" part of growing up. Like smashing into a curb and falling off your bike, being yelled at or bullied by someone bigger than you, or being embarrassed in front of the whole class.
But what does trauma have to do with IBS?...
IBS is short for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and is characterized by abnormal functioning of the bowel. It is the most common digestive disorder seen by doctors. It is sometimes called Spastic Colon.
IBS symptoms vary from person to person but typically include pain, gas, bloating, and either diarrhea, constipation or both. For people with IBS and diarrhea, urgency and frequent trips to the bathroom can become a nightmare that causes a paralyzing change in lifestyle. Some people are unable to travel or even hold a job due to the unpredictability of their condition.
Medically speaking there is no known cause or cure for IBS. Diagnoses involves ruling out other disorders that have similar symptoms including, but not limited to, colon cancer, celiac disease, Crohn's Disease, colitis and bacterial infections. With IBS there is no damage to the intestines; rather it is the functioning of the bowel that is the problem. It is often when nothing else fits that the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is given.
An often overlooked contributor to IBS is the effect that negative emotional experiences and trauma have on this disorder. Dr Robert Scaer, neurologist and researcher, includes IBS along with Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, Asthma, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities as 'diseases of trauma'.
Imagine that you feel anxious, or you have a headache, or your stomach is upset. What do you do? Pop a pill? Drink some herbal tea? Lie down and wait for it to go away?
What about gently tapping on your face and torso with your fingers while you focus on the problem?
If you’re like most of us, it’s probably not the first thing you’d think of doing. Or even the second.
But, every day, thousands of people all over the world use this surprisingly effective method to relieve many types of physical and emotional distress, from chronic pain to anxiety and phobias...