ALTERNATIVE IBD TREATMENTS
After my diagnosis and year-long treatment, I chose to consider alternative approaches to see if I could remedy my symptoms from another direction. Education drove me. My willpower took me the rest of the way there. OK, I know it took me 20 years. I'm a slow learner. I've been where I am today since 2001 and I feel great, no inflammation, and no symptoms of inflammation whatsoever. And you wouldn't believe the variety of food I can eat. I had no idea there were so many vegetables, fruits, plants, beans, nuts and seeds, other than potatoes, white rice and some peas. Sometimes, in desperation, we do what's right for us because we're afraid not to. Being afraid of my symptoms was a motivator, too.
My world opened up when I was diagnosed with ULCERATIVE COLITIS.
To learn how to eat to live, I needed to start with a nutritionist. At the time of my suffering, I was all ears to what I could and couldn't eat and how I should prepare my meals. I didn't always like the answers, but I got the point: I had to eat smaller portions, more often, and in the right combinations of nutrients.
The other good news, my food choices cost me nothing more than buying and cooking real food. Going marketing was actually fun and quick. Because all the healthy food is on the perimeter, the outside edges, of the typical market layout, that's where I get most of my food stuffs. If I need a can of soup, tuna, or beans or a jug of water, I know the aisle they're on. I stay away from most of the aisles because that's where all the processed foods are.
Food Shopping Tips: Don't market when you're hungry. Hungry shoppers are often impulse buyers of processed foods. Have a snack before you go so you're not tempted. Many fruits and vegetables can be bought frozen with confidence. They're often flash frozen shortly after being harvested and all the good nutrition is preserved. Great thing about frozen, you don't always have to be in the mood for a particular veggie. They last a good long time in the freezer, too, so fear not. Have your veggies when YOU want them because in the freezer they won't spoil. However, be aware that anything in the freezer will, over time, experience some freezer burn. Try to eat the entire bag of frozen fruit or veggies as soon as you can so they stay flavorful when you cook them. Frozen veggies are also good in smoothies and smoothie soups that you can make yourself.
In my journey, I wanted to know what was right for me and just DO IT. Whatever it took, short of going back on medication. I had to turn my sacrifices into assets that I'd never let go of. Like I said, it took me 20 years without medication after my first year of treatment. ULCERATIVE COLITIS turned my head around. Several times. Good thing, I like green pea soup.
Methinks, regardless of a patient's medical treatment, eating healthy, clean, whole foods and exercising regularly will probably not be in conflict with your treatment. However, always talk to your doctor first, of course, before eating healthy and exercising. There might be conflicts for some patients and only your doctor would know this for sure.
Fasting has been used for thousands of years to give the body a rest and help it detoxify and heal. Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, extolled the virtues of fasting in his writings. Many world religions have used fasting as a way to focus on both physical and spiritual healing. Fasting is also becoming an accepted method of detoxification for nutritionists and health practitioners.
HOW DOES FASTING WORK?
Digestion is hard work and the body takes a lot of energy to do that job. Fasting gives the body time to slow down, to rest, and to use the body's energy for calming the system. During the first day of a fast, the body burns stored sugar, known as glycogen. After this, the body burns fat for fuel. During the second to third day, the body goes into what is called ketosis. During ketosis, the liver converts stored fat into chemicals called ketones, which can be used by the brain, the heart, and muscles for energy. As fat is burned for fuel, stored toxins (pesticides, preservatives, additives) are released into the bloodstream, to be metabolized by the liver and the kidneys.
How often and for how long one fasts depends on a person's health. Many practitioners recommend fasting 2-3 days at the turn of each season. Others may fast one day a week. For the experienced, the basic fast is a water fast, and practitioners will drink only water for up to 5 days. Juice fasts are not as intense as a water fast because the nutrition prevents ketosis from occurring. Carrot, lemon, apple, beet, celery, wheatgrass, spriulina, barley, grass, and other super green foods. Fasters should consume eight 8 oz glasses a day (64 ounces).
MEDITATION, MINDFULNESS, and SELF-HYPNOSIS
Prior to my diagnosis, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to self-hypnosis and meditation. I found them to be powerful tools in the management of my dis-ease. Currents in those two disciplines inspires the concept behind Mindfulness. These disciplines appealed to me because of their inherent visual nature. I learned to direct my energies inward and visualize healing. Positive thinking, an optimistic outlook, a hopeful disposition, all help send positive, healing energy to affected areas. I used what I learned from these disciplines during every treatment. I used my mind and my body to visualize healing and to tap into my own healing reserves. This Mindfulness, if you will, kept me in the present, kept me focused on the healing process, and with it I helped support my emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. It gave me time for myself, something a lot of us neglect. Because the treatments are close to an hour in duration, it gave me plenty of time to direct my positive healing mental energy to my entire existence there in the acupuncturist's office.
Yoga is another option for both exercise and centering ones focus and energy. Taking a yoga class gives me the time I need for myself and my own healing. I really love Hot Yoga, where the room is heated to about 100 degrees. Of course, only if you like to sweat...a lot! I just feel so cleansed and invigorated after my sessions. For you, always consult with your doctor to see if you're healthy enough to indulge.
ACUPUNCTURE - HOW IT WORKS
I know what you might be thinking: NEEDLES! And I really haven't a clue how it works. I just know, for me, acupuncture was a gift. Wheat led me to consider acupuncture was that it has a 3,000 year track record for its healing abilities. I entered into treatment based on that recorded duration of practice.
I was told that the needles were so thin, you barely felt a twinge. They were right. These needles are so thin, they can enter a single pore in your skin. Although a little nervous and tense at first, I quickly learned to relax into the procedure. It's an interesting bodily experience, for sure. There is no pain whatsoever. getting used to what I was supposed to be feeling during the treatment, was a journey unto itself. Very quickly, I was able to give my acupuncturist valuable feedback during each and every needle.
Each treatment lasts about 45-60 minutes. Depending on your ailment, an acupuncturist will determine where needles should be inserted. Once a needle is inserted, the acupuncturist will gently twist and turn the needles, kind of like tuning into a station on the radio. When a needle taps into your individual "chi", or energy, you have a unique sensation in that area of insertion. When all the needles are in place, be open for feeling the flow of energy within your body. The concept is this: The needles connect the energy to the body's natural healing capabilities. Devotees to the treatment will go maybe once a month or every six weeks. Just to stay balanced. When I was sick with UC, I had to go a few times a week for the first month or so, to jumpstart my body's own defenses. I think of the needles as radio relay towers in miniature. The needles tap into, connect and synergize a body's own power until the body's energy is balanced and working like a fine-tuned Ferrari.
That was my experience. I don't see an acupuncturist currently as my health is strong. It's not a life sentence is my point. I go when I need to.
Hope may have arrived as an ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT for battling a C. diff invasion.
Are you ready?
A Fecal Transplant. That's correct. A FECAL TRANSPLANT.
WHAT IS A FECAL TRANSPLANT ?
I'm glad you assked (pun intended, of course). And when I tell you, you're going to say "Eeewyuck!". Be thankful you don't have to drink it. And if someone ever feels the way I say I was feeling, they'll say, "Eeeew-where do I find out about this?"
A FECAL TRANSPLANT goes like this:
In a doctor's setting, a patient is diagnosed with a C. diff infection, an infection of really bad bacteria. The patient's doctor places a medical order to obtain stool from a healthy donor. Upon receiving the healthy donor stool, the patient returns to the doctor's setting for the procedure. At the time the FECAL TRANSPLANT procedure is to be performed, the doctor mixes the healthy donor stool with saline (salt water). Then, through a tube inserted into the patient's rectum, the patient is administered the dose of healthy stool, bathing the affected areas in good bacteria. The healthy bacteria from the donor stool provides an army of the good guys to once again crowd out the bad bacteria, changing a sick microbiome into a healthy one. The good bacteria, the good flora, now back in gut control, prevents C. difficile from recurring.
A FECAL TRANSPLANT is like an ocean of PROBIOTICS being added to an environment that is woefully lacking. If patients also exchange their processed food choices with more plants, fruits and veggies, patients should continue to see improved management. Adding a quality PROBIOTIC to a patient's daily regimen might be something a patient might consider. After consulting with their doctor, of course.
Interesting stuff if you ask me. It just makes so much sense.
There's a Dr. Colleen Kelly, a gastroenterologist at Brown University, who is doing FECAL TRANSPLANT research.
Naturally, these professionals cost money. However, not surprisingly, they cost less than a visit to an internist or specialist doctor. Check with your insurance company to see if they cover any alternative treatments, including acupuncture and counseling or talk therapy. Counter-balancing the negative with the positive is a strategy worth considering.
Always do your own homework.
HELMINTHIC THERAPY - Information taken from Wikipedia
Also, check out this article online (copy and paste into your browser: http://news.health.com/2010/12/01/worm-therapy-shows-promise-for-ulcerative-colitis/
Current research and pharmaceutical therapy are targeted at the treatment of CROHN'S DISEASE, ULCERATIVE COLITIS, INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE, multiple sclerosis, asthma, eczema, dermatitis, hayfever and food allergies.
While it is recognized that there is probably a genetic disposition in certain individuals for the development of autoimmune diseases, the rate of increase in autoimmune disease incidence is not wholly a result of genetic changes in humans; the rise of autoimmune related diseases in the industrialized world has occurred in far too short a time to be explained this way.
There is evidence that one of the primary reasons for the increase in autoimmune diseases in industrialized nations is the significant change in environmental factors over the last century. It is posited that the absence of exposure to certain parasites, bacteria, and viruses is playing a significant role in the development of autoimmune diseases in the more sanitized Western industrialized nations. The development of vaccines, hygienic practices, and effective medical care have diminished or eliminated the prevalence and impact of many parasitic organisms, as well as bacterial and viral infections. While many severe diseases have been eradicated, humans' exposure to benign and apparently beneficial parasites has also been reduce d commensurately. Lack of exposure to sufficient benign antigens, particularly during childhood, is sometimes suggested as a cause of the increase in autoimmune diseases and diseases for which chronic inflammation is a major component in the industrialized world.
Although a complete explanation of how environmental factors play a role in autoimmune diseases has still not been proposed, epidemiological studies have helped to establish the link between parasitic infestation and its protective role in autoimmmune disease development. Environmental factors include exposure to certain artificial chemicals from industrial processes, medicines, farming, and food preparation.
WHAT EXACTLY IS HELMINTHIC THERAPY?
Helminthic therapy is a type of immunotherapy. Helminths are - ready? - parasitic worms, such as hookworms and whipworms. I know. YUCK and EWWWWWW!
Helminthic therapy consists of the inoculation of the patient with specific parasitic intestinal helminths, aka nematodes.
In short, Helminthic therapy is the treatment of autoimmune diseases and immune disorders by means of deliberate infestation via inoculation with a helminth or with the ova of a helminth.
There are currently three closely related Helminthic treatments available.
They include 1) inoculation with Necator americanus (hookworms); 2) inoculation with Trichuris suis ova (TSO), aka pig whipworm eggs; or 3)inoculation with Trichuris trichiura ova, aka human whipworm eggs.
Sounds a bit disgusting and more than just a little unnerving. But wait.
If you're in pain, it might be a natural treatment worth considering. If a doctor is showing me a scalpel in one hand, and Helminthic therapy in the other, I'm with the worms. I think I could live with the worms before I could live without 12-36" or more of my intestines. But that's just me, the little worm, talking. As I've encouraged, you've got to answer this for yourself.