Colitis, Crohn's and IBS
Illnesses of the intestinal tract are varied in their causes, symptoms and treatments. They can go from merely annoying to life threatening. And as complex as their diagnoses and remedies are, there is also the commonality that these conditions may all benefit from a healthier gut. Here is a snapshot of some GI conditions.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common GI problem in America, affecting 20% of the population. It generates abdominal pain and bloating, but without severe intestinal inflammation like the more serious IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). Among the possible causes are a rise in the ratio of the bad vs good bacteria in your gut (dysbiosis), and the increase in gas that results.
IBS treatment options are complex, but one choice includes the introduction of butyrate – a short chain fatty acid your probiotic bacteria normally produce by fermenting prebiotic fibers – in your large intestine. The butyrate nourishes the epithelial cells of your intestinal wall lining and helps promote the establishment of a healthy microbiota climate.
To treat IBS, physicians often recommend eating more whole grains, vegetables and fruits, to increase dietary fiber intake. Doctors also suggest omega-3, digestive enzymes, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Many of these are also found in ProBiotein.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
Inflammations of the large intestine are called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). They can be low grade, persistent, chronic inflammations, or severe and intense flare-ups. Among the more common types of IBD are ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Both are thought to be a result of autoimmune problems.
Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammation of the mucosal membrane of the large intestine lining, which is the inner most layer. It primarily affects the large intestine and unlike Crohn's, tends to be continuous across tissue. Ulcerative colitis affects less than 1 in 1,000 Americans, and appears intermittently. It is an autoimmune disease and may be preceded by inflammation in other parts of the body, such as knees and joints. There may possibly be a link between UC, the cells lining the intestine, and higher levels of hydrogen sulfide in the large intestine. Production of hydrogen sulfide by pathogenic bacteria in the large intestine is an indication of dysbiosis and may also be linked to UC.
Crohn's disease (CD) is most often a condition that appears near the end of the small intestine and/or in the large intestine. About 1 in 500 Americans has it, and Crohn's is much more common in the U.S. than undeveloped countries. Its origin may be linked to the bacterium MAP (Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis), or E. coli (Escherichia coli). Plus a genetic component for enhanced susceptibility, and the body's self-attacking immune reaction against its own gut tissues.
The disease generally affects all layers of the bowel wall, though primarily in patches, not continuously. Leaky gut may play a part in the development of Crohn's and in its occasional flare-ups. This may also explain why reaction to certain foods can cause episodes, as undigested particles of those foods can slip through the intestinal wall and come under attack by the body's immune response system.
With Crohn's, antioxidant levels are often lower, as they are consumed by the increased number of free radicals which can be produced with inflammation. And with increased free radicals, more healthy cells may be damaged, potentially causing more inflammation and even more free radicals if left unabated.
As with other IBD sufferers, Crohn's patients often have gut microbial imbalances, where pathogenic bacteria numbers are too high. It has been reported that at the core of Crohn's disease is the connection between the microbiota of the gut and the health of the intestinal lining.