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Crohn's Disease

A Naturopathic Approach


The 170,000 Canadians with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) likely already know that November is Crohn’s awareness month, but did you know that Canada has the highest rate of incidence in the world?

Crohn’s affects the digestive system and causes intestinal tissue to swell, form sores, and even bleed. Symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, fatigue, and diarrhea.

A report from the University of Manitoba recently revealed that the highest rate of incidence is in Nova Scotia (at 580 people with IBD per 100,000). The lowest rate is in BC (331 per 100,000).

“There is no known cause or cure for IBD,” according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada, yet increasing numbers of people are finding relief without resorting to pharmaceuticals, surgery, or both.

“Naturopathic medicine can help,” says naturopathic doctor Alison Vandekerkhove. Her first step is testing Crohn’s patients for food sensitivities that can exacerbate symptoms, then eliminating these foods from the diet. Using natural anti-inflammatory agents, digestive supports, energy enhancers, and acupuncture, “we’ve had good results,” she says. Her patients report reduced gastrointestinal pain and swelling and improved energy.

For a referral to a naturopathic physician in Canada email or search for one at



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