Many people with digestive disorders have used some form of complementary or alternative therapy. Some commonly used therapies include:
- Herbal and nutritional supplements
- Fish oil
Side effects and ineffectiveness of conventional therapies are primary reasons for seeking alternative care.
The majority of alternative therapies aren't regulated by the FDA. Manufacturers can claim that their therapies are safe and effective but don't need to prove it. In some cases that means you'll end up paying for products that don't work. For example, studies done on fish oil and on probiotics for the treatment of Crohn's haven't shown benefits to using these products. What's more, even natural herbs and supplements can have side effects and cause dangerous interactions. Tell your doctor if you decide to try any herbal supplement.
Some people may find acupuncture or hypnosis helpful for the management of Crohn's, but neither therapy has been well studied for this use.
Unlike probiotics — which are beneficial live bacteria that you consume — prebiotics are natural compounds found in plants, such as artichokes, that help fuel beneficial intestinal bacteria. An initial study on prebiotics had promising results. More studies are under way.
Aug. 09, 2011
- Crohn's disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/crohns/Crohns.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Management of Crohn's disease in adults. Bethesda, Md.:American College of Gastroenterology. http://www.acg.gi.org/physicians/guidelines/CrohnsDiseaseinAdults2009.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Living with Crohn's disease. The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America. http://www.ccfa.org/frameviewer/?url=/media/pdf/crohns2005.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Crohn's disease. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/sec02/ch018/ch018b.html. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Peppercorn MA. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and natural history of Crohn's disease in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Smoking and your digestive system. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/smoking/DD-52.pdf. Accessed June 23, 2011.
- Burakoff R, et al. Inflammatory bowel disease. In: Greenberger NJ, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology, & Endoscopy. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Medical Companies; 2009. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=6200149. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Ford AC, et al. Glucocorticosteroid therapy in inflammatory bowel disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;106:590.
- Colombel JF, et al. Infliximab, azathioprine, or combination therapy for Crohn's disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;362:1383.
- Rutgeerts P, et al. Biological therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases. Gastroenterology. 2009;136:1182.
- Farrell RJ, et al. Medical management of Crohn's disease in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Korzenik JR. Investigational therapies in the medical management of Crohn's disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed June 20, 2011.
- Ford AC, et al. Efficacy of biological therapies in inflammatory bowel disease: Systematic review and meta-analysis. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;106:644.
- Enck P. Acupuncture treatment in gastrointestinal diseases: A systematic review. World Journal of Gastroenterology. 2007;13:3417.
- Markowitz J, et al. Patterns of complementary and alternative medicine use in a population of pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2004;10:599.
- Picco MF (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla. July 12, 2011.
- Colorectal cancer screening guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/basic_info/screening/guidelines.htm. Accessed July 12, 2011.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.