Name: Crohn’s Disease / Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
There are two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory process of the intestinal lining that effects of the entire gastrointestinal tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus. In addition, Crohn’s disease has the ability to affect the skin, joints and occasionally the liver. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory process that is confined to the large intestine. It has been recognized that there is a genetic predisposition to developing IBD. In both of the disease processes, the immune system attacks the cells of the internal lining of various areas along the upper and gastrointestinal tract. This immune response leads to widespread inflammation and further destruction of intestinal tissues. In the case of ulcerative colitis (UC) the disease process leaves the patient with characteristic ulcers that extend deep into the tissues of the large intestine. In extreme cases, the ulcers of UC may extend all the way through the intestinal wall leading to perforation which is a medical emergency. Crohn’s disease is capable of causing ulcers as well but it is usually characterized by widespread swelling of tissue and frequent blockage of the intestinal pathway. As the damage of Crohn’s disease progresses, small tunnels known as fistulas can develop between the intestinal tract and other organs leading to deadly infection. Crohn’s disease also increases a patient’s risk for developing colon cancer.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
Both types of IBD share signs and symptoms that are very similar making diagnosis by a gastrointestinal specialist of vital importance for proper treatment. Signs and symptoms include low grade fever, crampy abdominal pain, low back pain, persistent unrelenting diarrhea, fatigue, rectal bleeding, tissue or fatty stools, fluctuations between constipation and diarrhea, anxiety and depression.
Treating Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis (UC) or Treatment of Crohn's Disease / Ulcerative Colitis (UC)
There is currently no known cure for the IBD. Treatment of the inflammatory bowel diseases is mainly geared toward controlling symptoms and disease progression as it is impossible to reverse these illnesses. Traditional treatments include medications, bowel rest, dietary and lifestyle changes, and possible surgery to remove damaged segments of intestine. Hospitalization is often required during bouts of relentless diarrhea for control of intestinal inflammation with intravenous (IV) steroids, fluid replacement and bowel rest. Several patients treated with hyperbaric oxygen treatment along with their traditional treatment regimen have report significant improvement in their IBD symptoms. Many patients report that they experience a longer period of time in between episodes of diarrhea. This allows them to enjoy life and complete day to day routines with less anxiety related to the incidence of frequent uncontrollable diarrhea. HBOT has been shown to alter the Inflammatory process of IBD due to the hyper oxygenation of intestinal tissues and the stimulation of permanent new blood vessel growth for improved blood flow and long term relief of symptoms.