Thursday, January 5, 2012

Possible Crohn's Alternatives

This post is a place to list the possible Alternatives to Crohn's (one of the options from my original post on my health status (option 2 near the bottom of the post)). Here, I will keep a running list of options, along with description, testing methods, etc... I will flag them as ruled out when they are sufficiently tested. an informational link that seems trustworthy for each entry, and as time permits, I will build a links list for each one as I research them.

1. Mastocytic Enterocolitis
Increased mast cells in Intestinal tract.Possible triggers include parasites, food allergies, stress, presence of Crohn's or Ulcerative Colitis.

Diagnosed by taking tissue samples from the intestinal lining and testing for presence of excess mast cells.

Primary treatment is an antihistamine regimen.

2. Leaky Gut Syndrome
Limited recognition by conventional physicians presently, but increasing evidence may change that. Problem with intestinal walls allowing undesirable substances into the blood stream.

No present means for accurate diagnosis.

No proven treatment, but suggestions are diet, replenishment of "good gut bacteria" (specifically Lactobacillus GG). glutamine supplements, and increased intake of essential fatty acids.

3. Ulcerative Colitis
Another autoimmune disorder, causing ulcers in the Colon. Symptomatically very similar to Crohn's. The key differentiators are the location and spread of inflammation in the gut.In Ulcerative Colitis, the inflammation originates at or near the anus, and progresses upward. With Crohn's, the inflammation can be random patches, rather than a continuous streak, and typically appears near the connection between the  bowel and small intestine (in some cases going into the small intestine as well).

Diagnosis by Colon Biopsy and Blood tests.

Treatment by diet (low fibre, low fat). It is also possible in severe cases to remove the inflamed portion of the bowel. This will generally cause remission.

4. Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
In Short, evil bacteria has taken over and killed off the good organisms that normally live in the small intestine.

Diagnosis by Small Intestine Bacteria culturing, or a Hydrogen breath test. bacteria culturing is more accurate (and less convenient).

Treatment by antibiotics or probiotics. Antibiotics are problematic because they don't necessarily deal with root cause, which means It often comes back. That means frequent use of antibiotics, which can lead to antibiotic resistance. It is still questionable how effective probiotics are. The theory is you introduce good bacteria, which helps to crowd out the bad bacteria and restore balance.

5. Fibromyalgia
This one is only recently being accepted as a legitimate diagnosis. There is still some controversy around it. Originally it described non-intestinal symptoms, primarily pain sensitivity, or constant pain in skin, muscles and joints, it was initally introduced to the world of Crohn's as a secondary syndrome that some Crohn's patients could end up experiencing as their condition progressed. More recently, there has been some re-thinking of that, and there is now the suggestion that the Crohns-like symptoms some people experience and in fact not Crohn's, but additional manifestations of Fibromyalgia. I learned about this through a friend who grew up under the diagnosis of Crohn's but whose diagnosis was recently changed. to Fibromyalgia.

Since they don't really know what Fibromyalgia is, or what causes it, there really aren't good tests for it. Treatment is similarly an uncertainty. Though there has been some success with serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor's (milnaciprin being the most recent of these cleared for use in the treatment of Fibromyalgia).

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