Curious: Meds vs. Food adjustments

Does Diet help Crohn's Symptoms?
3
The right diet can stop Crohn's symptoms. - 10.7%
25
Diet has an impact but will not cure. - 89.3%
0
Food has nothing to do with Intestinal Health. - 0.0%

 
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chewbacchi
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/10/2008 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi folks,
(Please Vote above after reading through and posting your thoughts, too.)

New member, living with Crohn's 2 years, just recently had my worst episode and have finally been reading, researching, compiling lists, sources, diets, medical warnings, etc. Should have done all this research 2 years ago.

My question is, I had been reading alot of posts on this forum, and a vast majority of people speak only of the medication and medical procedures to help our condition, but I have not heard anything about food adjustments to achieve the same results. Why aren't alot more of us with Crohn's researching and using natural ways to heal ourselves rather than the negative Meds and Surgeries?

The reason I ask is because I found alot of information and personal testament to diet changes, which help eliminate symptoms and live almost completely free of our condition. I am referring to The Specific Carbohydrate Diet, by Elaine Gottschall in the book Breaking The Vicious Cycle. When I read this book, along with many others, I became very hopeful and optimistic about its results and I am currently starting the diet and making a commitment to this new way of eating.

Now, please heed that I am a mere Crohn's patient looking for less intrusive and harming ways of healing myself or at least minimizing symptoms, avoid surgery, and minimize medication, especially the harmful TNF meds. I am simply looking for input from you all, as to what you have heard, researched, tried, and if you believe there is a natural way of achieving health.

Please feel free to discuss things in this thread, hijack it, that's ok. I want to try to spur a conversation on this aspect of treating ourselves.

P.S. I highly recommend getting a copy of the book I mentioned, its easily understood and very logical. Gave me hope I could do something about this disease.

Post Edited (chewbacchi) : 9/10/2008 2:43:07 PM (GMT-6)


yogaprof
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1665
   Posted 9/10/2008 1:43 PM (GMT -7)   
welcome, chewwie!
stick around and you will see lots of discussion about dietary changes. there are folks on here who have done amazingly well with diets and those who have found no help through diet.
I gave up gluten (per a naturopath's tests) and have regained my health and am doing great. I am lucky.
I know that you will find lots of comments about the SCD book. glad you are here. yp
49 y/o woman.  Diagnosed 4/06 after colonscopy, SBFT, CT-scan all showed crohns. 3 months later, after pred and remicade, all tests showed no crohns. December '06 had adhesions cut through a laparoscopy. Now taking Glycolax, Ultra Fiber Plus, Florastor, and DHEA. Have become gluten-free diet per naturopath's tests.


chewbacchi
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/11/2008 8:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks for the warm welcome.
I hope to get more feedback about the SCD diet and other special diets people try. None of us are exactly alike, so I don't expect to have one person's experience duplicated if I try the same process. I am, however, hopeful about the restrictive diet after my cramps and pains go away, and I get back on solid food.
Currently I am back on Pentasa, Doc gave me a new one;Prednisone, and I am taking Vicodin for pain. Since I am still so swollen after the blockage episode I am keeping on a liquid diet, pre-digested meal shakes, called AbsorbPlus. These are flippin' expensive!!! But I'll do it for a few days and find something more affordable in a local health food store.
Cros your fingers for me, and I am praying for all of you.

Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 9/11/2008 8:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Some folks have success with diet some don't. I personally live on a low residue diet and it works well for me. Each of us has to find what works for us. So you will hear glowing stories of how the SCD diet or the Makers diet works so wonderfully for some and others it killed them. One thing I would like you to keep in mind, when on diet alone, we can never be sure without medications that our inflammation is being controlled. While on medications our blood it regulary checked and we are usually watched a little closer. That is just my humble opinion.
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 32 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec 60 mg, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Recently diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and doing tests to see if I have Inflammatory Arthritis or AS.


EMom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 9/11/2008 9:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Welcome chewbacchi! We chose to go the diet change/probiotics route and it has made all the difference. I understand it's not the answer for everyone, though.

I know that AbsorbPlus is expensive, but I bet it is a good formula! I hope it works for you! It may take longer than a few days, though! Our doc told us up to 6 weeks...but that would totally depend on your situation, of course!

I hope you feel much better soon!
Mom to 16 year old boy diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium w/D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Gradually learning/using more SCD recipes, too! (cooking challenged)


d2parrotperson
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 320
   Posted 9/11/2008 9:27 AM (GMT -7)   
Diet plays a huge role in my symptoms. I have tried so many natural remedies I have officially declared myself guinea pig of the year!! Most made me worse, others had 0 effect. There are some that have helped a bit. I am insistant on probiotics and digestive enzymes. I use several supplemants and herbals too. I am always seeking something else. I am now awaiting the arrival of a shipment of Inositol. I cannot wait to get it! It is exciting to me because it helps with pain, emotions, all manner of issues.
150mg Azathioprine, Lomotil, Iron, Nexium 2/day, Fentanyl patch, Oxycodone, Baclofin
Crohn's, Fibromyalgia, Several bulging discs, Bone spurs, Osteoarthritis, Osteopenia, Reflux, Stenosis, Strictures, Dengenerating facet joints
2 resections
 
Stephanie
When I am weak, then am I strong


MMMNAVY
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 9/11/2008 9:34 AM (GMT -7)   
SCD is something that has been discussed on this forum at great length. In fact it is the fifth bullet in our resource directory. Unfortunately, this disease is highly individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. I tried SCD, and ended up in the hospital for bleeding that I needed several transfusions to fix. Others have had great success on SCD. I encourage you to try whatever you think will work for you. While you have pointed out a negative connotation that is associate with meds and surgery, it is an unfortunate reality for those of us that have exhausted all other possiblities. Please do not be rough on yourself if you do end up needing meds.
We have several members that use natural products to assist in their IBD treatment.
Good luck with SCD, I hope it really works for you.
Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease
We will find a way, or make one.-Hannibal (crossing the Alps in the 15th Century on war elephants) 
Make sure your suffering has meaning...
All suggestions/options/opinions are caveated with please consult with your local health care provider...


Zanne
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 9/11/2008 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
I went 10 years between the start of symptoms and my actual diagnosis.  During that time, I changed my diet and felt pretty good most of the time.  If I had been asked this question then I would have told you that diet changes were the way to go and that maintenance drugs were not necessary. However, I believe that CD was working its magic on a microscopic level and in the next 10 years I had to have 3 resections.  If I had been properly diagnosed and on some form of maintenance drug I'm not sure that I would have had the same results.  Do people have good results with diet change, yes.  Is the disease still running around in their body doing damage, who knows.  Personally, I don't think I will ever take that chance again.

Suzanne

CD 19 years offically, 29 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Symptoms constantly but all tests show only minor ulcerations. Currently having multiple episodes of gastritis with no known cause.


Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/11/2008 2:20 PM (GMT -7)   
I think that the reason that diet varies so much in its results is because the disease itself causes more food allergies when it is active. The rationale is as follows: Inflammation and gut infections both increase gut permeability and impair digestion. Improperly digested food entering the gut can then pass through the mucous membrane and trigger an immune response (the same is true of gut bacteria, which are harder to manage than diet). Thus, cronnies can have a food reaction that causes inflammation for ANY food. The only things that you can be absolutely sure about being safe are pre-digested foods that won't reach the intestines. The diets that work generally are a radical departure from normal diets and may work by removing trigger foods that are the usual foods that you eat. There is another possibility - the change in diet may alter the gut bacteria strains by removing the normal foods that support bacteria that have caused an immune response and inflamed the poor gut. This might not work, depending on which bacteria are the troublemakers - the change in diet may provide more food for them instead.

gachrons
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 4527
   Posted 9/11/2008 6:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Yes I do believe diet makes a difference and as I have mentioned many times I do the low residue diet. Sure am wishing you luck on your diet. lol gail
Hallarious woman over 50 ,CD ,IBS 27 years--resection,fistula's,obstructions,and still alive.lol gail


CrazyHarry
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1034
   Posted 9/11/2008 6:48 PM (GMT -7)   
i had to vote diet has an impact but cannot cure the disease cos if research is correct, and it is genetic, then the only thing that can cure it is correcting your genetic code.

i do firmly believe diet has a profound impact on symptoms. i am a testimony to that. i feel symptom free right now, but who knows when things might flare up again. i plan to live for a good many more years so that chance is always there and quite frankly, as a realist, i know it will flare up some time in the future. hopefully it will be a long time down the road and be mild and it wont happen very often.

i think we turn to meds and surgery cos as a western culture that is what we are programmed to do and that is what our docs are trained to do. they get paid to prescribe drugs which mask symptoms so we have to continually see them which gets them and the drug companies paid and surgeons always want to cut something out cos that is what they get paid to do. granted these are sweeping generalizing statements so take them in that context. most of us when we ask our docs about diet they are clueless or say it has no effect. boy did i prove my docs wrong on that one.....
Crazy Harry

---------------------------------------------
Crohn's since 1993 (17 yrs old then)
surgery in July '05 - removal of 2 inches at ileum and 8 inches of sigmoid colon (had fistula into bladder)
Nov '05 developed colonic inertia; July '06 told i needed ostomy surgery
began maker's diet in August '06 - now feeling the best ever with no symptoms of colonic inertia and i kept my colon
med free as of 10/31/07


LMills
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 9/11/2008 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
A lot of us are looking into alternative treatments and diet modification, but those alone may not help in some cases so we have to use medication as well. I had to ignore the last option in voting but the first two depend on the person. Obviously this is because each person varies so while changing the diet may help one person it won't do much for another..in that light I have to choose the first two. In this post anyway er...I suppose I can't really choose both in the actual poll.
20 years old, Diagnosed with severe Crohn's and colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone, pentasa, alinia, bentyl, prilosec, tandem plus, and the occasional ultracet
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy(very possibly due to Crohn's inflammation) in July of 2008.
Due to start Imuran September 17 depending on blood results.


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/11/2008 8:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I missed the poll, but I would have to vote for the second item. It has been demonstrated that the problem arises from an immune system reaction to normal gut bacteria. This happens because of gut permeability which lets gut bacteria through the mucous membrane where they cause the immune response. The genetic component determines the severity of the immune response and the ease or difficulty in stopping the inflammation. The initiation of the process is likely to occur for most people. The difference is that in Crohn's, the immune response does not extinguish itself properly. Even if the immune response can be brought under control, the immune cells in the blood retain the fingerprint of the gut bacteria that triggered the inflammation. Thus, if at any future point you do something to increase your gut permeability again, those bacteria will trigger another immune response. If the picture that I have painted is accurate (current research supports all of it), it is not strictly accurate to call Crohn's and auto-immune disease. The gut bacteria are not strictly host tissue, even though we may be stuck with them for the long haul. This does not apply to a host of related Crohn's-caused diseases including RA, pancreatitis, skin disorders and many others.

pb4
Elite Member


Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20576
   Posted 9/11/2008 9:38 PM (GMT -7)   
I've found some success using naturals (probiotics, fibre supplements strongly recommended by my GI, natural anti-inflammatories) and altering my diet, eating whole foods, nothing processed or refined and drinking only chamomile tea and water, on occassion 100% pure fruit juice no sugar or anything added.

:)
My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)


chewbacchi
New Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 10
   Posted 9/11/2008 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks folks for all your response and opinions. Keep them coming. I will research more post on this forum, apparently I had missed the SCD posts before. I am very passionate to control this condition through diet rather than radical medical treatment, although, I do understand we gotta do what we gotta do, and I may be looking at surgery and heavy meds anyway.
Here's to this wonderful, unknown disease, and hopefully we find a highly effective way of treating/curing it.

confused

kandc88
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 65
   Posted 9/13/2008 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
I voted that diet could stop crohn's...unfortunately I think I'm already too broke to fix...really.

I think if I would have eaten a natural diet of meat veggies and fruits that maybe I could have cured my crohn's...however, now I've had two resections and the second one accomplished nothing at all! Still can't eat anything fibrous...so most veggies and fruits are out except some well cooked ones like broccoli heads, potato, carrots, apples.

I'm positive that a no added sugar diet (including breads etc) would keep my crohn's from progressing.

I also use and believe in probiotics and enzymes and need to take various vitamins...

I had success in the past with the SCD and now definitely eat low residue. My last issue two weeks ago was with schredded wheat (thought it would dissolve mostly into nothingness before hitting that stricture, but I guess not...oops.

Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/13/2008 4:40 PM (GMT -7)   
I believe that the symptoms of Crohn's can be controlled by diet, for the most part. The catch is that if the gut is actively inflamed, avoiding things that inflame it will not cure the problem. Gut inflammation is self-perpetuating in Crohn's without some intervention. There are alternatives to the usual drugs offered, but be it drugs or alternatives, the inflammation must be controlled. Probiotics have some anti-inflammatory effects, but a more effective agent from the point of view of reducing inflammation is turmeric. It is a well-known material and has been a part of the Indian diet for centuries. For more on its action, see:
http://medind.nic.in/ibi/t05/i3/ibit05i3p141.pdf
Following is a quote from the article linked above:
Curcumin was found
to inhibit arachidonic acid metabolism, cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase, cytokines (Interleukins
and tumour necrosis factor) Nuclear factor-κB and release of steroidal hormones. Curcumin
was reported to stabilize lysosomal membrane and cause uncoupling of oxidative
phosphorylation besides having strong oxygen radical scavenging activity, which was
responsible for its antiinflammatory property.

jacenta
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 47
   Posted 9/13/2008 6:52 PM (GMT -7)   
is turmeric available in tablets? ive found turmeric in the supermarket in powder form. how do you take it? anyone knows?

EMom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 990
   Posted 9/13/2008 7:48 PM (GMT -7)   
You can find turmeric in capsules at health food stores. I've even seen it at Wal-Mart and Target in the supplement section.
Mom to 16 year old boy diagnosed in June, 2007.
Omega 3s, digestive enzymes, probiotics, vit. C, calcium w/D3, a good multivitamin and SCD legal yogurt
Started The Maker's Diet in Sept. '07. Gradually learning/using more SCD recipes, too! (cooking challenged)


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/13/2008 8:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I've seen recommendations of 500 mg capsules three times a day. I forgot to mention that vitamin E also has useful anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin C has the benefit of reducing vitamin E once it is oxidized in fighting inflammation so that it can work another time.

belleenstein
Veteran Member


Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 1010
   Posted 9/13/2008 9:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Keeper, you said, "The only things that you can be absolutely sure about being safe are pre-digested foods that won't reach the intestines."

Just because a food is pre-digested, I don't think that means that it doesn't reach the intestines. It means that it is almost fully absorbed as it goes through the intestines therefore leaving little residue.

Are you talking about parenteral nutrition (TPN), which bypasses the digestive tract completely?

As for the SCD, it's been around long enough to be thoroughly researched and, testimonials to the contrary, in clinically controlled research trials it has been found ineffective in maintaining remission over the long term.

Still, there must be a subset of patients for whom it provides some relief and for that reason it is always worthwhile exploring the possibilities of diet manipulation to ease symptoms. They key though, and I think MMnavy eluded to this, is not to become so invested in "curing" your crohn's through "natural" methods that you A) live in denial about the level of disease activity you are dealing with and B) that you don't beat up on yourself if you don't achieve the results you want through diet alone.

After living with crohn's for 30 years, during which I have tried naturapathy, dietary supplements, diets, and -- mostly -- force of will, to forego taking medications. I have finally made peace with the fact that I need medication to slow the disease's incidious assault on my bowel. For years I deluded myself, thinking I just had a "little case" of crohn's. That I was one of the "lucky" ones. That I could "manage" my symptoms with only minimal medication.

All the while this disease was at work building up scar tissue until my bowel closed completely, not once, but twice. Now I am permanently disabled -- and taking the medication I need to slow down the disease's next assault on my bowel. I eat as healthfully as i am able, given my compromised gut. In fact that is now my goal. Not to get well, or to be cured, but to keep working at being as healthy as i can be. Mostly, it means living with my reality and being ok with that.

All the best in your search for what works for you, but don't assume that the rest of us on this forum have never "been there and done that".
Belleenstein:

30+ years living with Crohn's.


Margie11
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 467
   Posted 9/14/2008 6:30 AM (GMT -7)   
I have seen many people control the symptoms of crohn's with diet and I have great luck with the SCD diet myself. It is VERY important to remain under the care of your Doctor and monitor this illness properly. We can build inflamation extremely quickly, and it can be life threatning. Please heed Nanners warning, no matter how well controlled symptoms are or seem to be please allow your physician to monitor your situation closely. A cure? No, I don't think we have seen that yet. Every day researchers are discovering more issues related to the genetics associated with this illness. Diet and other enviromental factors probably play a huge role in the development of the symptoms and can slow or suspend them, but feeling well does not tell the entire story. I know sometimes it's tough to stay on the same page with your Doctor, I get really tired of the "we don't know answer" from them, but thay are our allies, and this is the response of an honest caregiver.I prefer this to the "Doctor knows it all we know nothing" approach. I work in the natural products industry, and have helped many people remain nutritionally stable, and some local Docs have admited that supplements are sometimes absorbed when they just did not think it was possible. These herbs and supplements are sometimes powerful, but not always in the way one intends. So, the first two answers are both valid, and are not in opposition.

Anyone know a diet that helps you spell any better??? wink I was really good before, but it never came back when the brain fog lifted


Crohn's for life, just met first cousin who suffers from Reiters-explains sooo much. Great control on SCD (when I'm good) and I get by with a lotta help from my friends!
 
                                              Margie11

Post Edited (Margie11) : 9/14/2008 7:40:38 AM (GMT-6)


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/14/2008 2:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't mean to imply that diet alone can replace meds. I do think that by carefully choosing naturals that do the same function that the meds do, you can minimize the need for medication. For instance, turmeric is a well-researched product with a known anti-inflammatory effect as well as an antibiotic effect. It may be able to replace asacol, which is not saying much since asacol is quite limited in effectiveness. I do want to stress that the inflammation has to be controlled by whatever means necessary. The related problems of RA, pancreatitis, dermatitis, gall bladder problems and a host of others all derive from uncontrolled inflammation. My take on the role of diet is that it can potentially change the factors that maintain inflammation. It may be that impaired digestion allows certain types of food to pass into the intestines in a form that is not absorbable. That food is then consumed by gut bacteria. There is a known relation between the types of bacteria in the gut and diet, so altering the diet to prevent the growth of those bacteria may help. This depends on the bacteria that are responsible for the immune reaction. If diet starves the trigger bacteria, then it should help. If different bacteria are responsible for the immune reaction, then diet may not make any difference. The same is true for probiotics. If probiotics can competitively displace the trigger bacteria, probiotics will seem wonderful. If different bacteria that are not competitively displaced are the problem, then probiotics are marginally useful. This rant is based on recent research that has determined that the immune globulins in the blood are targeting common gut bacteria and not host tissue. The immune reaction in Crohn's is abnormal and is not easily terminated, resulting in chronic inflammation, unless some intervention is made. Controlling the gut's bacterial population would seem to be the best way to avoid trouble, but the inflammation has to be brought under control or the resulting gut permeability will just cause new bacteria to generate a new immune reaction. Given the ease of causing gut permeability (stress alone can do it), it is necessary to maintain inflammation management.

belleenstein - about the predigested foods, I meant foods that can be absorbed by the intestines. If you don't use predigested foods, digestive problems may allow partially digested food to reach the intestines and increased gut permeability would allow the undigested protein chains to pass through the gut wall and trigger an immune reaction. After that, that food will cause inflammation every time you eat it.

Post Edited (Keeper) : 9/14/2008 3:20:27 PM (GMT-6)


MMMNAVY
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 6927
   Posted 9/14/2008 2:54 PM (GMT -7)   
wow tumeric gives me booty burning poo, but maybe it is just me (alot of things give me the booty burning poopies).


Forum Co-moderator - Crohn's Disease
We will find a way, or make one.-Hannibal (crossing the Alps in the 15th Century on war elephants) 
Make sure your suffering has meaning...
All suggestions/options/opinions are caveated with please consult with your local health care provider...

Post Edited (MMMNAVY) : 9/14/2008 4:08:01 PM (GMT-6)


Keeper
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 9/14/2008 4:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, turmeric is HOT. You have to take the capsules on an empty stomach 15 - 20 min before eating. If you are suffering D, it may go through too fast and cause burning. Sorry, I should have warned about that before.....
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