Dr. Raymond K. Cross Jr., a gastroenterologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, says the causes of inflammatory bowel disease are not well known but family history appears to be a factor in 15% to 20% of cases. IBD can strike at any age but usually hits people in their 20s and 30s with symptoms that can include diarrhea, rectal bleeding and abdominal pain.
Different probiotic strains target different body systems and health issues, from regulating digestion to warding off colds, according to microbiologist Dr. Gregor Reid, director of the Canadian Research and Development Centre for Probiotics. He says there are certain strains that can treat diarrhea and constipation and another strain is being studied to treat acid reflux.
Abdominal bloating usually comes from intestinal gas, low stomach acid, low digestive enzymes, stress or food intolerances and can cause flatulence and burping. Hot boiled water with lemon juice stimulates the digestive system, and herbs such as ginger, peppermint and fennel can reduce intestinal gas. Fruit can cause bloating, so it's best to eat it 30 minutes before, or two hours after, a main meal.
"Crohn's Casts" are a new series of educational podcasts that will provide clinical information from health care providers and testimonies from patients about Crohn's disease. The podcasts are sponsored by Abbott, which is hoping to raise awareness about the disease.