Category Archives: Crohn’s Disease

Better colonoscopy prep in the works

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Colonoscopy is by far the best way to detect and prevent digestive issues such as colon cancer.

Oh, the colonoscopy. Although it’s the most effective way to detect and thereby prevent colon cancer and other digestive issues, some people are still reluctant to commit to the procedure. Ask just about anyone who’s endured the quick and painless process, and they’ll tell you that the prep is the most difficult part.

Reports the Chicago Tribune: “Data suggest that about 40 percent of the people who should get a colonoscopy don’t, mostly because of the prep,” says Douglas Rex, a distinguished professor of medicine at Indiana University School of Medicine.

A typical colonoscopy involves drinking lots and lots of not-so-tasty liquids followed by lots and lots of trips to the toilet. Nothing is going to change in the toilet department, but the liquids are getting a face lift.

Researchers are experimenting with flavored shakes and bars such as strawberry banana or coconut that have the same effect as the historically dreaded liquid.

“Those drinking the new products were twice as likely as those who used the standard prep solution to be satisfied and four times as likely to recommend it,” says the Tribune.

The products should be available to patients in about two years.

The entire goal of these new prep methods is to get more people to commit to a colonoscopy, as it’s undoubtedly the number one way to detect and prevent cancer, tumors, polyps and other intestinal abnormalities.

“The easier you make it for people, the more you can improve their adherence,” says Susan Czajkowski, chief of the health behaviors research branch of the National Cancer Institute.

“The perfect screen has no value if it isn’t used.”

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The real struggles of three IBDers

On a normal day, car trouble or a busy grocery store are minor inconveniences. When you add Crohn’s or Colitis to your schedule, your normal day can turn into a bad dream in no time.

To raise awareness of this struggle and show how strong these survivors are, we wanted to share three encouraging stories as we look forward to the bright future of IBDers.

 

Amber Lopez Pelton, Crohn’s SurvivorImage may contain: 2 people, people sitting and indoor

I’m still wearing purple to raise awareness for IBDđź’śđź’śđź’ś I thought someone fixed the brake lights a while ago, but some nice man honked his horn& told me they were out still out. Being in a bad flare, I had an extra change of clothes& took the girls with me& changed& cleaned myself the best I could while I got the truck serviced. It was very embarrassing but The Automotive place treated us very well& gave us a good price& understood. They got to see a little bit of a taste of what us IBDrs go thru on a daily basis, behind closed doors. It can cause depression as well. It’s an autoimmune disease!! So please, take us seriously, many have passed from this& it can b hereditary.

Let’s fight for a cure everyone!! 

Oh& it can turn into Cancer without proper treatment. So let’s raise awareness& fight for a cuređź’śđź’śđź’śStay strong my IBD Warriors!!

 

Nicole Lynn Cochran, Ostomy SporterImage may contain: 2 people, people smiling, text

I am 28 years old and have suffered from severe ulcerative colitis since I was 19. For years I hid my illness and was embarrassed to talk about the painful and debilitating symptoms associated with inflammatory bowel disease.

I had gone through over 30 medications including biologics, high dose steroids and even forms of chemotherapy with no relief. My colon was killing me. Three weeks ago I went under the knife to remove my diseased colon. I have two more surgeries to go to create my jpouch and to reverse my ileostomy.

I wear a bag and I am not embarrassed, and I have no reason to be.

This bag is giving me LIFE and I intend to take full advantage of that.

I have come a long way from the 19 year old girl that was afraid to talk about her illness. I have an ostomy and I am proud of it!

 

Image may contain: one or more people and plantAmber Schieber, Lifetime IBD Warrior

I’ve had Crohns Colitis and IBD since I’m 9 years old, I’m 20 now, my disease is so sever it has moved into my lungs and has caused respiratory diseases. ” Just breathe” is written in my parents handwriting, symbolic to, deep breath, everything is going to be okay, one step at a time.

Everything does get better, don’t give up, fight like a girl.

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Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness 2016

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#IBDVisible 2016

This week, we celebrate Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness with the goal of making IBD more visible and less isolating for folks who live with it.

The tricky thing about Crohn’s, Colitis, and other forms of IBD, is that oftentimes, people who struggle with the digestive disorders seem ok on the outside. However, the symptoms take their toll internally, causing all sorts of fatigue, loss of appetite, cramping, and frequent bowel movements that can make it difficult to carry on with a normal day but aren’t always visible to folks on the outside.

This awareness week is meant to recognize folks who struggle with various forms of IBD, their caregivers and families, the healthcare professionals who provide care, and the researchers dedicated to finding more advanced treatments and eventually a cure.

The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America has several ways you can get involved or simply raise your awareness about IBD. There are chapters across the country that you can connect with through Facebook to keep up with local fundraising events. Have a look at Michigan’s to see what’s going on in your area. Then, you can read the stories of folks who live with a form of IBD, learn about donating or participating in an event, then read about recent research and the advances the medical community has made.

Beyond that, sharing articles, memes, infographics and even your personal story on social media can help raise awareness about IBD and the struggles these heroes face.

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Three inspiring stories from IBD fighters

Every day across the country, more than one a half million people live with some form of irritable bowel disease. The struggles of these folks can vary immensely, with the goal of most to find some normality within the disorder.

Recently, we’ve come across a handful of really incredible and inspiring stories, so we thought we’d share a few with you.

Tony, a Crohn’s patient from Pennsylvania

For me, Crohn’s is one piece of a very complicated medical package – I also live with epilepsy, Celiac disease, and a rare, systemic genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I struggle daily with depression. Suffice it to say, I manage A LOT when it comes to my health and overall well-being.

There’s something about living with a disease like Crohn’s that has altered my entire perception of myself and my place in the world. When I was diagnosed, I stared death in the eyes. Crohn’s, forever complicated by my entire medical mash-up, nearly killed me. It ravaged my body before more treatments were developed. At the time, infliximab was the only biologic therapy on the market, and after a 13 year run with it, it was no longer helping me. Surgery was necessary and as a not yet out of the closet gay man, I feared I would never live an authentic life. I feared I would die before I could ever tell another man that I thought he was cute.

There is absolutely nothing easy or carefree about living with Crohn’s. It’s painful. I’m 33 and I still have accidents. I am on a very strict medication regimen, and there is not a decision I made that Crohn’s, and my health in general, does not directly influence. There are no days off for me or the other 1.6 million Americans living with IBD. This disease is harrowing, but I have managed and found joy in life and, after all of it, I wouldn’t change anything.

I’m often asked why I wouldn’t change life with something so debilitating as Crohn’s disease. And, for me, Crohn’s has caused issues with my skin, kidneys, joints, and, as new research suggests, probably doesn’t help my depression. It’s because living with Crohn’s has taught me so much about my own will to survive and my abilities to rise up against all odds.

I’m strong. I’m resilient. I’m capable. I do not know if I would be the strong, witty, and humble person I am today without this disease.

Via CCFA – Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America

 

Tyler, an IBD fighter, member of NCCL

My IBD is something I have constantly tried to keep on the “back burner,” to not focus on it and live my life without any limitations. For years this worked just fine until recently, when complications arose just days before the start of the fall semester.After undergoing several tests and surgery, I was faced with the difficult decision of whether I could return to school for the semester or to take off. 

My body and my mind started on opposing sides, as my mind was set on returning to school but my body was not ready to do so. After much contemplation, they came around to agree on a simultaneous decision to take the semester off. Despite it not being the decision I hoped for, placing my health as a priority was the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

After all, if we don’t have our health, what do we have?

I think this is an important point that is easily overlooked in the younger generation. We are on the timeline of school, a career, the future, etc. that our health can easily be left on the “back burner” when it shouldn’t be. Everything going on in life can wait. Take the time for your health when needed. Regardless of what IBD puts on hold in your life, you will always bounce back and one up the disease.

Via CCFA Campus Connection

 

Lauren Zirfas, a Crohn’s patient from KansasLauren Zirfas

I was a healthy, happy child until the age of four.  I loved to ride my bike, swim, sing, but most of all I loved to dance.  Then things changed.  I was constantly tired, had severe anxiety, always complained of a tummy ache, my skin was very pale with huge, dark circles under my eyes, I used the bathroom A LOT, and I had quit growing.  During the next few years I had every blood test possible, yet nothing showed up.

When I started school, I was so tired that I could barely make it through the day.  I would come home and go straight to my room to take a nap.  My mom and dad woke me up to go to dance class, eat supper, or wherever we had to be. Once, I fell asleep at the table in my plate, like a baby does; and another time, I fell down the stairs because I was so exhausted.  I couldn’t keep up with my brother, Conner, or my friends at the swimming pool.  After 30 minutes at the pool, I would ask my mom if we could go home.  I even asked my parents if I could quit dance class because I just couldn’t stand two hours of dancing after a whole day at school, and dance was my life!  My mom and dad were very worried because a normal kid doesn’t act like that.  I am the youngest of five, so they should know.

Finally in March of 2015, I was referred to Dr. Hattar.  She had me limit the amount of dairy products that I ate each day and took away cow’s milk, but my symptoms didn’t go away.  On May 4,2015, I had an endoscopy and a colonoscopy so Dr. Hattar could look inside of me.  That was the day I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, just two weeks after I turned eight years old.

I began receiving the Remicade Infusion ten days later on May 14, 2015; and have been receiving them every six to eight weeks since.  My family has had to make a few changes at home since I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, but it hasn’t been too bad. Now I am able to keep up with my brother and my friends. In the past year, I tried out for Ballet Wichita’s The Nutcracker and danced as a mouse, cheered for my brother’s football team, played basketball and softball, and enjoyed my true love of dancing by training/going to class every week and dancing whenever my feet hit the floor.  I am now growing like a normal, nine year old kid should, thanks to Dr. Hattar.

One day, I hope there is a cure for Crohns Disease so that kids like me don’t have to go to the doctor for an infusion.  That is why I am walking for a cure and I am happy to share my story with everyone.

Via Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America – Minnesota/Dakotas Chapter

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New study reports link between fungus and Crohn’s

Crohn's has a new fungus to examine for a cure.

A new study shows a connection between Crohn’s and a gut fungus, the first time this relationship has been studied.

A small but promising study was released by Case Western Reserve University showing a link between certain types of fungus in the intestines. There’s bacteria in everyone’s guts, but folks with Crohn’s have an abnormal immune response to them. Until now, few studies have looked at the role of the fungi that’s also present in our tummies.

“Equally important,” says Science Daily, “it can result in a new generation of treatments, including medications and probiotics, which hold the potential for making qualitative and quantitative differences in the lives of people suffering from Crohn’s.”

The study looked at four families with members who have Crohn’s and nine families who don’t. The presence of the fungi in question was much higher in family members with Crohn’s than those without. Fungus levels were higher and bacteria levels were lower in those with the disorder. This is the first time this type of connection’s been made.

Although this study is small, it’s important that it looks at different families from different regions. The two main causes of Crohn’s are genetics and environment, and families share those two!

Although “further research is needed to be even more specific in identifying precipitators and contributors of Crohn’s,” this is still great progress that can hopefully lead to additional treatments.

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Announcement! New Facebook page for Research Department

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

Our Research Department now has its own Facebook page!

We’re excited to announce the launch of our Research Department’s very own Facebook page!

The goal of our Research Department is to conduct clinical trials for folks struggling with digestive disorders such as Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. For many patients who haven’t had much success with other courses of treatment, these trials can be a great way to explore other options.

Anyone interested in participating will have to qualify. If you do, you’ll have access to more than 75 years of research experience with high-quality care in a professional and comfortable environment.

To stay up-to-date with our latest trials, like our Facebook page, or contact us at (248) 267-8485.

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Dr. John Weber exclusive: Tobacco and digestion on World No Tobacco Day

Dr. John Weber talks to us about digestive issues and tobacco use.Today marks World No Tobacco Day, a worldwide initiative to eliminate tobacco use. Since there are so many connections between tobacco use and chronic digestive issues, we wanted to get an expert opinion.

Dr. John Weber, MD, at Troy Gastroenterology, sat down to give us some insight into how tobacco negatively affects your digestive system.

Tobacco and Gastro Risks

“Tobacco and smoking have significant effects throughout the gastrointestinal tract,” says Dr. Weber. Heartburn, GERD, peptic ulcers and other issues can either be caused by or made worse from tobacco use.

And the negative effects of tobacco don’t stop with common digestive issues.

“Patients who smoke also have a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease,” says Dr. Weber. “And smokers with Crohn’s have more severe symptoms and complications from their disease.”

Tobacco and Colon Cancer

What’s even worse about the relationship between tobacco use and digestive problems, is that it’s linked to an increased risk of cancer.

“Smoking can contribute to increased risk of cancer throughout the GI tract,” says Dr. Weber. “Focusing on colon cancer, cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing pre-cancerous adenomatous and polyps.”

The increased risk of cancer isn’t the only problem.

“The risk of dying from colon cancer is also increased among smokers,” says Dr. Weber.

You’re not just more likely to get colon cancer if you smoke, but you’re less likely to make it through.

Tobacco and You

There are always things you can do to improve your health and prevent disease. Even though there are exceptions.

“Many diseases that people acquire are beyond their control,” says Dr. Weber. “The risk of developing certain diseases, however, can be decreased by lifestyle choices including diet, exercise and nutrition.”

Treatment and prevention of certain digestive issues are almost always easier when tobacco is out of the picture.

“Many GI problems that I see on a daily basis could be more easily treated or prevented if patients stopped smoking,” says Dr. Weber.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, Dr. Weber says that educating folks on the dangers and risks of tobacco use would potentially help lead to more quitting.

“I think if patients understood the true financial and health costs associated with their tobacco use,” says Dr. Weber, “then they might be willing to quit – or, even better, not start smoking.”

The doctors at Troy Gastroenterology want all of their patients to stop smoking. They can help you get started if you’re not sure where to go.

As Dr. Weber says: “It’s not easy, but there are now many successful strategies available to help patients quit smoking.”

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Talk it out: Colon cancer conversations you should have

Colorecatal_Cancer_Awareness_Month_Scrolly_MarchTalking about cancer is never easy. Especially if you come from a family who keeps their medical struggles private. But it’s so important to have conversations with relatives about the issues they face. You can learn a lot about the risks you might face simply by knowing what your genes are predisposed to.

“First-degree relatives – parents, siblings and children – of patients with colorectal cancer or polyps have a two- to three-fold increased risk of developing polyps and colon or rectal cancer,” says Craig Reickert, M.D., in Breaking taboo: Making colon cancer awareness a family affair.

It’s especially important to educate yourself about your family history, because oftentimes, colon cancer comes with no symptoms.

“We’re finding colorectal cancer in younger people under 40,” says Dr. Anezi Bakken, M.D. M.S. at Troy Gastroenterology. “And there are usually no symptoms,” Dr. Bakken adds.

By far the best way to screen for colon cancer is a colonoscopy. But, if you’re still facing resistance from your family about discussing their personal health, Dr. Reickert suggests putting it this way:

You change the oil in your car so you don’t have to replace the entire motor. Colonoscopy is just like that oil change; it’s preventative maintenance to extend your life and avoid invasive treatments down the line, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The bottom line is that screening is the only way you can get out ahead of colon cancer to have a chance of getting it under control. Even though it’s not curable, it’s definitely controllable if found early enough and treated properly.

And, after talking to your family, it’s even more important to get screened – and screened early – if they’ve had any issues with colon cancer, Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.

Dr. M. Emin Donat, M.D. F.R.C.P.C. at Troy Gastroenterology, puts it best: “A colonoscopy is easy, painless and can save your life.”

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Are you #IBDAware?

IBD includes Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis.Inflammatory Bowl Disease is inflammation of your digestive tract. The two main conditions of IBD are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

This week, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is hosting an awareness week, asking, “Are you #IBDAware?” It’s estimated that nearly 700,000 Americans are affected by both Crohn’s and Colitis. That’s almost 1.5 million people dealing with these chronic conditions. However, everyone’s experiences and symptoms can be different, and most of them are manageable with a combination of treatments.

The difference

Crohn’s and Ulceritive Colitis have similar symptoms but affect different areas of the gastrointestinal tract. “Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel and the beginning of the colon,” says the CCFA, “but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.” Ulcerative colitis mainly affects the colon or large intestine.

Diet’s role in care management

Most IBD conditions can be attributed to genetics, but diet can also contribute to well-being. “While your diet is not a cause of your disease and changing your diet will not cure you,” says CCFA, “paying special attention to your diet can help reduce and control your IBD symptoms.” They go on to recommend keeping a food journal to track what you eat. Then when you have a flare up, you can see if there’s any correlation to your diet.

CCFA in Southeast Michigan

The CCFA offers support groups for folks living with IBD. The Michigan Chapter is in Farmington Hills. A combination of paid and volunteer staff work to bring you information and advice while organizing events throughout the community. The Chapter Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) is comprised of doctors from the area who are dedicated to offering support and furthering awareness about IBD.

In June 2016, there are several “Take Steps” walks, including in Royal Oak and Grand Rapids. The Michigan Chapter also organizes Camp Oasis, a summer camp for children with IBD.

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World Ostomy Day 2015

Ostomies are surrounded by stigma, but hundreds of thousands of Americans have one.

Ostomies are often stigmatized, but they’ve made life better for hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Ostomies are medically created openings to the body to help folks deal with different digestive issues. People with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis and some cancers can benefit from an ostomy.

October 2 marks World Ostomy Day for 2015. This is an awareness campaign that’s celebrated every three years to try to reduce the stigma surrounding ostomies. There are a few different types. Colostomy, Ileostomy, Urustomy and Stoma treat bladder and intestinal issues.

The Huffington Post reports that around 750,000 people in the U.S. live with ostomies. Their recent article, “8 Myths About Ostomies Debunked,” takes a look at some of the assumptions people make and how they can be harmful.

The article points out how an ostomy isn’t the end of the world. And in fact, it can be a ticket to freedom for folks struggling with digestive illnesses.

Stephanie, a Crohn’s disease patient who had ostomy surgery in 2012, said: “Having an ostomy has given me back my life and I am able to do all of things that I’ve always wanted to do, but had been held back before by Crohn’s disease.”

For more information, have a look at the United Ostomy Assocations of America. They offer resources like support groups, discussion boards and events for folks with ostomies and their families.

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