World Digestive Health Day Inflammatory Bowel Disease Awareness

This month the World Gastroenterology Organisation has arranged a day to raise awareness of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).IBD is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the gastrointestinal tract.  The two most common types are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.  IBD manifests as many symptoms including bouts of diarrhoea often containing blood, abdominal pain and bloating, weight loss and perianal irritation.  It can also lead to nutrient deficiencies due to poor absorption and is a risk factor for developing colorectal cancer.

Allopathic treatment for these conditions usually involves the use of corticosteroids and or NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).  Whilst these drugs are often lifesaving and necessary they do not offer a permanent resolution.

The causes of developing Inflammatory Bowel Disease are not fully understood, however genetic factors, antibiotic exposure, dietary factors and stress are all thought to be possible risks.  Antibiotic exposure can cause an imbalance of the intestinal microbiome which is where Taymount can help. FMT repopulates the colon with a healthy and diverse microbiome which has been indicated to be altered in IBD sufferers.   A recent randomised placebo controlled trial showed that FMT induced clinical remission and associated changes in the microbiota in patients with Ulcerative Colitis.  We have also seen some very positive results in patients with UC who have undergone FMT at Taymount.  You can read some success stories from some of these patients here

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There are of course other considerations to be made in the management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  Dietary changes can often be beneficial and should be tailored to the individual.  The removal of allergenic foods and those which commonly cause damage to the mucosal lining of the gut such as gluten and dairy should be avoided.

It is also important to support the mucosal lining of the gut.  Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) are produced by bacteria in the gut as a result of carbohydrate fermentation.  SCFA’s such as butyrate are often decreased in IBD so supplementation may be beneficial.  This can be taken orally or as an enema.   At Taymount we have developed our own formulation of ingredients including butyrate, into a preparation called Salvicol™, to be used as a small retention enema/bowel implant to help support the integrity of the mucosal lining in the colon prior to, during and after FMT treatment. If our patients would like to know more information about these please contact us directly.

Monitoring nutrient deficiencies is also important.  Deficiencies in vitamins, particularly B12, folic acid, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin A are common as well as mineral deficiencies. Regular testing for vitamin and mineral deficiencies is recommended for patients with IBD.

Finally, stress is an important factor to consider for the treatment of any chronic illness.  We also know that stress can affect the composition of our microbiome and how it interacts with us. Using herbs such as Ashwaganda could be useful, as well as stress reduction therapies such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or meditation practice .