By far the most common reason patients visit gastroenterologists is for help with irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, also known as spastic colon. Although the condition is not dangerous, nor does it lead to anything serious, IBS is a real challenge to treat effectively. In fact, conventional medical textbooks advise doctors to tell their patients that the condition is incurable, and many patients have come to believe that the best they can expect from conventional medicine is only limited relief. All doctors, including myself, hesitate to use the word “cure.” But at WholeHealth Chicago, we’ve found that a more integrated medical “toolbox” has dramatically improved our success rate.
We don’t understand a lot about Crohn’s disease, but we do know that more and more young people are being diagnosed with it. Crohn’s is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It strikes mainly adolescents and young adults, and manifests itself as abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, and weight loss. The small intestine is primarily affected, and the patient develops real problems in absorbing important nutrients. Physicians use the anti-inflammatory drugs sulfasalazine and steroids to reduce the inflammation. As the disease seems to be related to alterations in the immune system, they sometimes add medications to suppress immunity as well. Unfortunately, the disease often progresses despite drug therapy, and surgery is frequently needed for infections and intestinal obstruction.