Colitis and Crohn’s Disease involve inflammation and possible ulceration of the digestive tract. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, anorexia, weight loss, gas, and abdominal tenderness. There may be bloody diarrhea if intestinal bleeding occurs. Colitis is confined to the colon, whereas Crohn’s disease, though usually affecting the small intestine, can also affect the mouth, esophagus, and stomach. The degeneration of the intestinal mucosa (surface layer of cells) often leads to poor absorption and nutritional deficiencies, says Dr. Donovan. This is a major problem if the distal ileum is involved, since this is where vitamin B12 is absorbed. There may also be an autoimmune component to these diseases. The immune system may react to the cells as they break down or to the food particles or bacteria, which can cross the damaged intestinal walls.
Although colitis and Crohn’s disease may result in similar symptoms, the causes are multifactorial and are often the result of autoimmune disorders or food allergies. Alternative treatments address these factors through diet, nutritional supplementation, herbal medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine.