Inflammatory Bowel Disease

What is Colitis?

Often, this kind of infection occurs when certain bacteria, typically C. diff, outgrow and dominate other bacteria in the gut.

Sadly, the over-prescribing of antibiotics — think ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and amoxicillin — to patients by doctors for unnecessary reasons, especially in hospitals, has created opportunities for drug-resistant infections to harm greater numbers of Americans and trigger C. diff infections. And, this exposure to antibiotics doesn’t include those contained in the flesh foods we eat either. Colitis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the colon, but that’s as simple a definition as you’ll get for this intestinal condition. Its symptoms include cramping, bloating, diarrhea (sometime bloody) and abdominal pain.

Defining it and naming its common symptoms are the easy parts, however.

Unfortunately, people use colitis as a catchall term to describe a lot of different conditions. Plus, colitis comes in many types, including ulcerative colitis, ischemic colitis, microscopic colitis and chemical colitis.

Interestingly, a common kind of colitis that you may already be pretty familiar with — but call it something else like food poisoning — is infectious colitis.

Infectious colitis can come from having person-to-person contact (usually dirty hands), consuming foods and water contaminated with E Coli, Salmonella or parasites or having indirect contact with common items you may handle that are unclean (think toothbrushes, eating utensils and clothing).

Another form of colitis — pseudeomembraneous colitis — has risen greatly in popularity over the last decade or so, but you’ve likely heard it called by the name of the bacteria, specifically Clostridium difficile or C. diff infections.

Other factors cited by the Mayo Clinic that may make you more vulnerable to pseudomembranous colitis apart from too many antibiotics:

  • Receiving chemotherapy
  • Suffering from colon cancer or inflammatory bowel disease
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Living in a nursing home
  • Staying in a hospital

Probiotics to the rescue

The good news about these kinds of infections: Studies have shown how probiotics can dramatically reduce the incidence of diarrhea, among of the key symptoms associated with C. diff infections.

In fact, an extensive 2013 review of 31 studies by the Cochrane Library concluded probiotics significantly reduced the risk of diarrhea associated with C. diff infections by an amazing 64 percent.

So, how do you choose the right probiotic? Cheaper brands of probiotics tend to restrict their blends of beneficial bacteria to one or a few, yet small amounts don’t do much to cultivate the diversity your gut needs to reduce your risk of infections or their symptoms and promote better immune health.

If you’ve been looking for a proven probiotic, consider a product that contains multiple species of beneficial bacteria and a prebiotic that feeds the good bacteria already living in your gut, like EndoMune Advanced Probiotic or EndoMune Junior (for kids).



Inflammatory Bowel Disease Increases Risk of Malnutrition

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) increases the risk of malnutrition in both adults and children, according to the American College of Gastroenterology. This incidence, likely due to malabsorption of essential nutrients, was the result of a recent study among a cross-section of adults a pediatric patients.

The study addressed patients with both Ulcerative Colitis and Chrohn’s Disease, with the latter showing higher incidence of malnutrition. Fortunately, the occurrence of malnutrition was low – but this study still indicates the need to monitor nutrients and maintain medical treatment to not only address the medical disease, but its impact on overall health and nutrition.

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iPhone to Assist IBD Patients

Individuals who suffer from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s Disease and a variety of other gastrointestinal ailments are often faced with the need to maintain daily bowel logs. Consistent logs help physicians track and monitor a patient’s progress and adjust medication as needed; insufficient data or sporadic logs, however, are often not helpful for monitoring long-term trends.

With this in mind, patients find it burdensome and difficult to remain on track with this daily regimen.

Enter technology…

A new iPhone application, “GI Monitor,” was developed by Brett Shamosh, CEO and founder of WellApps, Inc. For nearly two decades, Shamosh has suffered from IBD, and understands firsthand both the importance and burden of monitoring his daily BMs. In an effort to ease this task, a patient can download this application to their iPhone to monitor bowel movements and other related symptoms. In one organized, simple format, patients can log their individual data digitally, including prescription information.

The iPhone and other mobile devices make sense. Rarely do you leave home without your phone or PDA device; but how often do you want to carry your dietary journal? Shamosh says this was his reason for developing the application.

In the future, Shamosh indicates he would like to track symptoms of all users, and use these results for research benefits. The implications for monitoring trends are promising. As for advances in future releases, since there has been so much interest in not only BM logs but dietary logs, the next release will allow users to input and track dietary intake.

If you currently suffer from a GI ailment, you can download the application for $4.99 at the iTunes Store. The application will also be released in a format compatible with Blackberrys in the near future.

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