Crohn’s Disease

Stomach Pain

Crohn’s Disease is one of three inflammatory bowel diseases (ibd) and it is on a significant trend up! When I first began clinical consultation, I would see approx 5 cases a year in ages between 18 & 35. Nowadays, I treat around 2 cases a month in people as young as 5yo.

The usual presentation for Crohn’s Disease is pain in the right iliac fossa & rlq (right lower quadrant), often reminiscent of appendicitis which is often misdiagnosed leading to unnecessary surgery. In Crohn’s disease this pain is normally accompanied with malena (blood in faeces) and mucous that the patient is ordinarily aware of. In children though, I have seen Crohn’s Disease present as lone chronic nausea with no bowel abnormalities whatsoever.

I always find a recurring theme of stress (usually long term and usually family in origin) in a Crohn’s patient. It is chronic stress which normally precipitates the rise in autoimmunity I find personally. For this reason, it is a person’s response to stress I always deal with first. Often hypoadrenal in origin, Crohn’s is one of many autoimmune diseases where the body no longer has the capability to control its physiological response to inflammation.

In most cases, a patient is either medicated (prednisone and / or imuran) when they present to me, or in- between flairs and therefore on little to no medication. They normally resort to a naturopath because they see no end to their disease, and it is here that we address the triggers. Like all cases of autoimmunity, the medical model has no answers and simply bandaids acute symptoms with drugs. I’m not saying this is bad, it just isn’t enough. In many cases I liaise with specialists and fully support acute pharmaceutical therapy. You must however address the drivers ; which are…

  1. Autoimmunity (th1 dominant)
  2. Acidity (most patients have a ph around 5.8-6.2 in my experience)
  3. Stress. Like I’ve said this is the most important aspect to control acute flairs and is case specific.
  4. Inflammation. If on prednisone, I leave this step until levels are 10mg or below. I will normally assess vit d levels here though at the beginning.

Others: hormonal imbalance, gut toxicity etc. Other than stress though, I seldom find other links for this disease. Despite hereditary, stress is normally what activates the gene. I find people love to blame their condition on hereditary, excusing themselves in the process – but something has to turn it on.

Leave a comment or question

  • anne

    Are you telling me that Stress is what causes Inflamatory Bowel Disease such as Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis?

    • Shannon

      The cause Anne is much deeper than stress & embedded in a significant inflammatory cascade which is responsible for autoimmunity. Stress though is most definitely a primary trigger which can disrupt the body’s ability to down-regulate prolonged inflammation. So in many cases, yes.