Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition. While the exact cause is unclear, there may be an autoimmune response triggered by bacteria, perhaps even normal gut bacteria, other organisms, or irritants in the intestines. When it comes to Crohn’s disease, Bothell’s Dr. Nicole Anderson helps patients dealing with this chronic inflammation to identify potential triggers and calm the immune system’s overactivity.
Crohn’s disease is specifically inflammation in the intestines, also known as the bowels. The inflammation may be in the small or large intestine, which can also be a problem for patients with irritable bowel syndrome. The two conditions also share some symptoms, including abdominal discomfort, cramping, and pain.
Crohn’s disease is often associated with the development of mouth ulcers (as is ulcerative colitis), eye problems, and weight loss and malnutrition due to frequent diarrhea and the intestines’ inability to properly absorb nutrients.
Getting a proper diagnosis is helpful, but the process is “exclusionary,” in that there are no other obvious causes for the symptoms. For Dr. Nicole Anderson, the most important piece of the puzzle is determining what is driving the inflammation.
While the underlying causes of Crohn’s disease are not always clear, it is possible to identify triggers that can lead to worsening symptoms. As with many diseases that impact the digestive system, a food sensitivity or food allergy may be a contributing factor. Gut flora imbalances and similar issues can also contribute to conditions that make symptoms more frequent, more severe, or both.
Dr. Anderson helps patients to get relief from Crohn’s disease via dietary changes and supplements, which can reduce the inflammation by removing sources of irritation and restoring a healthy gut biome. Natural supplements are also an effective way to balance hormones and pair with relaxation-focused activities to relieve persistent stress.
Medications can also be helpful for addressing the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Low dose naltrexone, known as LDN, is a medication-based strategy that serves as an effective treatment.
No matter the approach, it is key for Dr. Anderson to begin by taking a patient’s full medical history, which includes a list of lifestyle and environmental factors that can potentially be impacting the intestines. By getting as accurate a picture as possible about what could be causing the problem, she can develop a “fine-tuned” approach that focuses on stopping the chronic issue and allowing the body to heal.
In addition to diminished overall well-being, patients with Crohn’s disease have an increased risk of developing colorectal cancer. Calming the ongoing inflammation, then, can provide a range of benefits: relieving the discomfort and pain of the symptoms themselves, resolving related inflammation elsewhere in the body, and maximizing long-term health by lowering chances of developing further health problems.