Crohn's Disease

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Latest Edit: Hector 2014-02-13 (EDT)

Crohn’s disease is one of two diseases classified as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other one is Ulcerative Colitis. Crohn’s disease is much more prevalent in United States, Great Britain and Scandinavia vs Central Europe, and is rare in Africa and Asia. The peak incidence of symptoms typically occurs during one's 20s and 30s, but may occur at any stage of life.[1]

Crohn's Disease
Causes Food Reactions, Stress, Infections
See Also Digestive Conditions, Constipation, Dysbiosis, GERD, Heartburn, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Diverticulitis
Books Books on Digestive and Liver Conditions
Articles Articles on Digestive Conditions

Naturopathic Assessment

Article Inflammatory Bowel Disease Part II: Crohn's Disease ñ Pathophysiology and Conventional and Alternative Treatment Options , Alt Med; 2004;Vol9(4)

Looking for the cause of Crohn's disease takes patience and exploration into many factors of one's lifestyle and into the many infectious agents that can trigger its onset. Naturopathic Doctors are known for their ability to help with the diverse symptoms and treat the root cause. A detailed intake is required to determine which factors could be implicated in an individual's case of Crohn's Disease.

Causal factors

Crohn's disease, like may conditions, most likely is the result of a combination of effects including exposure to pathogens, imbalanced bacterial flora, poor dietary choices and stress triggers which combined can result in a state of immune system dysregulation.


Article Crohn's Disease: Removing the Obstacles, NDNR [1], 2011 January


  • Infectious agents, such as microorganisms like rotavirus, Epstien-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, and mycobacteria are correlated with Crohn's Disease.
  • Other associated organisms include: Pseudomonas-like organisms, Chlamydia and Yersinia enterocolitica.[3]


  • Smoking increases a person's risk of developing Crohn's disease, with a higher risk for women versus men.[4].

Medical Interventions

  • Prescription Medications
  • Antibiotic exposure has been linked to the development of Crohn’s Disease.[5] – namely because developed countries have had steady rises in Crohn's since the 1950s when antibiotics were available in oral form and increasing prescritption numbers have paralleled increased incidence of Crohn's.
  • Antibiotic resistance in organisms of the bowel flora caused by frequent and incomplete prescriptions for antibiotics is also implicated as a factor.
  • Oral contraceptive use may independently increase risk of Crohn's in women.[4].
  • Vaccinations
  • The measles vaccine may increase a person's susceptibility to Crohn's disease later in life.[6]


  • Bowel Flora
  • Proper and adequate bowel flora is required for immune regulation. Inadequate bowel flora or increased bowel permeability is associated with increased risk of Crohn's Disease.

Genetics and Gestational Factors

  • Family History
  • There may be a genetic predisposition as first degree relatives are 3 in 20 or 15% more likely to develop inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s Disease is associated with MHC class II alleles DR7 and DQ4 in 30% of cases in North American white males.[7]

Diagnostic Testing

The diagnosis of Crohn's disease start by taking a complete medical history with a focus on dietary patterns, digestive function and bowel function.

Related Conditions

Ulcerative Colitis is closely related with Crohn’s disease as they are both classified as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD).

Other conditions commonly associated with Crohn's Disease includes:


Dysbiosis of the intestinal microflora leading to increased inflammatory pathways in the colonic epithelial cells is thought to be an underlying cause of [IBD]. As the classification suggests, inflammation plays a role in the damage that is caused to the entire thickness of the bowel wall. Some patients with Crohn’s may suffer from lesions that are called granulomas however they may or may not be present depending on the case. It is possible for this granulomatous process to occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus but is often localized to the final portion of the small intestine the ilium.[7]

The symptoms experienced in Crohn’s are highly variable and unpredictable and can include:[8]

Naturopathic Treatment

The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Crohn's Disease is considered a chronic] and progressive disease if not treated properly.

It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor before engaging in any treatment plan.


Lifestyle recommendations include:

  • Smoking cessation has been reported to reduce risk of relapse by 65% which is similar to the reduction obtained with immunosuppressive therapy.[9]
Article Diet- based management of inflammatory bowel disease: The role of food intolerance, IHP, October 2008
  • Ensure you drink adequate water.
  • Regular exercise is beneficial in the treatment of Crohn's Disease.
  • Adequate sleep is required to ensure optimal digestive function.

Naturopathic Therapies

Naturopathic Therapies for Crohn's disease include:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture. TCM differentials to consider include: liver invading spleen, qi deficiency and food stagnation, spleen qi deficiency, damp heat, damp cold, spleen and kidney yang deficiency, qi and food stagnation.[12].
  • Acupuncture is beneficial at supporting the flow of energy through the gastrointestinal tract.[12]
Article Intravenous therapy for inflammatory bowel disease, IHP, October 2008


Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND [2]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Murray Michael, Pizzorno Joseph (1998) Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Three Rivers Press, New York.
  2. Pizzorno Joseph, Murray Michael (2006) Textbook of Natural Medicine e-dition: Text with continually updated online reference, 2-volume set, Churchill Livingstone.
  3. Tozer PJ, Whelan K, Phillips RK, Hart AL (2009 Oct) Etiology of perianal Crohn's disease: role of genetic, microbiological, and immunological factors Inflamm Bowel Dis; Vol15(10):1591-8 PMID: 19637358.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ashley Mary (May 1997) Smoking and diseases of the gastrointestinal system: An epidemiological review with special reference to sex differences. Can J Gastroenterol;11(4):345-352.
  5. Shaw SY, Blanchard JF, Bernstein CN (2011 Dec) Association between the use of antibiotics and new diagnoses of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis Am J Gastroenterol; Vol106(12):2133-42 Epub 2011 Sep 13 PMID: 21912437.
  6. Bone Kerry An Innovative Approach to Herbal Therapy for Autoimmune Diseases
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kumar Vinay, Abbas Abul, Fausto Nelson, Mitchell Richard, editors. (2007) Robbins Basic Pathology 8th Edition. Saunders Elselvier, Philidelphia
  8. Dains JE, Baumann LC, Sceibel P (2007) Advanced Health Assessment and Clinical Diagnosis in Primary Care 3rd ed Mosby.
  9. Johnson GJ, Cosnes J, Mansfield JC (2005 Apr) Review article: smoking cessation as primary therapy to modify the course of Crohn's disease Aliment Pharmacol Ther; Vol21(8):921-31 PMID: 15813828.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Prousky Johathan, Hoffer Abram. (2008) Principles and Practices of Naturopathic Clinical Nutrition. CCNM Press
  11. El-Hashemy Shehab, Skowron Jared, Sorenson Linda (2011) Textbook of Naturopathic Family Medicine & Integrative Primary Care: Standards & Guidelines CCNM Press.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Kuoch David. (2011) Acupuncture Desk Reference. 2nd ed. Acumedwest Inc.