Crohn’s disease is a condition of severe irritation or inflammation on the digestive tract, which can cause ulcers and sores forming. It usually affects the end of the small intestine, where the major part of nutrient absorption takes place. This inability to digest and absorb nutrients by people with Crohn’s disease may result in anaemia, malnutrition and lack of key vitamins like Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Zinc, folate, iron and calcium.
General symptoms experienced by people with Crohn’s disease are: acute abdominal pain or cramping, fever, weight loss, chronic watery diarrhoea, bloating, fat malabsorption and fatigue. There may be the occurrence of some other symptoms like anaemia, constipation, irritation on eyes, rectal bleeding etc.
Crohn’s disease may results in the following complications:
- Scarring and bowel obstruction
Scarring may cause thinning of parts of the intestine followed by very slow movement of food through the intestine or bowel blockade or obstruction.
These are abnormal connections generated between sections of the intestine and the skin. As these fistulas contain fecal material, they need to be sapped and treated with a combination of both surgery and antibiotics.
- Ulcers and Gallstones
Inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can result in sores or ulcers in various parts of the digestive tract including anus and mouth.
- Osteoporosis, Anaemia and malnutrition
The small intestine gets severely affected by Crohn’s disease and it becomes unable to absorb sufficient nutrients and minerals from food, including iron and calcium.
Causes of Crohn’s Disease
Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still not identified, it is noted that people suffering from Crohn’s have several mutations in their genes, which can cause an imbalance in the bacterial development in the intestine. This could be the reason for the severe inflammation typical to Crohn’s disease. Several studies indicate a prominent imbalance of gut microbes in patients suffering from Crohn’s.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
Many studies stated that SIBO was diagnosed in 23% to 34% of people with Crohn’s disease. The small intestine bacteria overgrowth disturbs the normal digestive process critically, which leads to the whole circle of damage in the intestine along with malabsorption of nutrients. SIBO found in Crohn’s patients is partly responsible for malabsorption and other symptoms like bloating, cramping and diarrhoea.
Crohn’s Treatment and the GAPS Diet
General treatments for Crohn’s comprises of drugs to decrease inflammation, surgery, corticosteroid medications, antibiotics, diarrheal drugs and nutritional supplements. Taking advantage of effective dietary methods can help lessen the usage of drugs, which are associated with chronic side effects and various health issues.
Although fast tract diet was developed originally for Autistic children, it may provide additional benefits to people with Crohn’s. The GAPS Diet is proven to have the following benefits in Crohn’s patients:
- Overall Improvement of symptoms
- Enhancing healing in the intestinal lining
- Reducing inflammation
- Eliminate or reduce the dependency on drugs
- Improving nutrition and extending time in remission.
The GAPS Diet at first is based majorly on liquid diet like an elementary diet, which is developed for easy digestion and to control the quantity of undigested carbs on which SIBO potentially fed on. It certainly helps to ease the symptoms of the disease by reducing SIBO and enhancing nutrient absorption.