Emotional Support for IBD

Whether you have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, we treat the whole person, not just your IBD symptoms. With on-site psychological counseling and other nontraditional therapeutic options, we provide emotional support for your disease in more ways than one.

Nurses at NeW IBD gastroenterology centerThere have been many studies suggestive of adverse life events causing IBD relapse. However, many of these studies were limited by a small number of patients enrolled or by a retrospective design. Recently, some studies examining animal models of colitis have found that experimental stress can affect the immune system and trigger gastrointestinal inflammation in animals.

  • White blood cells from people under stress, such as students during exam time, produce more inflammation-causing chemicals than white blood cells from people under non-stressful conditions.
  • Sudden stress has been shown to increase the numbers of white blood cells that mediate inflammation in people with Ulcerative colitis.
  • Psychological stress has an effect on gastrointestinal motility by increasing contractions of the colon and by making the colon more leaky
  • A few studies have found that the higher the number of stressful life events, the higher the likelihood of IBD relapse
  • Depression was found in one study to be a predictor of relapse in patients with Crohn’s disease
  • Psychological stress has been shown to decrease the threshold for the perception of pain

In light of these findings, therapies tailored toward reducing psychological stress may improve patients’ symptoms.  Currently, 25-50% of patients with IBD use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which consists of herbal remedies, homeopathy and acupuncture. IBD patient often have to take strong anti-inflammatory medications for their disease. Medication side effects and long duration of disease were found to be predictors of CAM utilization.

Acupuncture

A limited number of studies have suggested that acupuncture improved the disease activity scores and quality of life parameters. Subjective symptoms, including pain, improved in people who had acupuncture. This effect could be explained by the change in psychoneuroimmunological pathways that acupuncture produces, as well as by the implicit holistic understanding of the patient’s problems during acupuncture sessions. This provides a harmless and effective adjunct to traditional therapies.

Physical activity

Patients with Crohn’s disease can usually tolerate low-intensity exercise, such as walking about 2 miles 3 times a week. This exercise regimen for 12 weeks was shown to produce psychological and physical improvement.

Stress reduction

Crohn’s disease patients who received training in stress management (a total of 8 sessions) experienced a significant reduction in tiredness and abdominal pain during a 12 month follow up.

To learn more about our nontraditional treatment options for IBD or to schedule an appointment at our center, contact us today.