New research is pointing the finger at bacterial imbalance as a major source of health issues in gastroenterology and digestive diseases. Patients with Crohn’s disease (a mysterious inflammatory bowel disease), have large amounts of the bad sort of gut bacteria and too little of the beneficial kind. When compared to healthy people. What is more worrying is that the latest data points to antibiotic treatment making the disease even worse than no treatment. Antibiotics are known to have dire reactions on the immune system, should someone take them for a long period of time. In fact, what tends to happen is that the body gets immune to the very medicines that are designed to treat it.
The researchers at Massachusetts General report that the findings are able to help to guide the way for better diagnosis of patients.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are many and various. This is one of the reasons doctors can’t say for sure how many sufferers there are. There is no conclusive definition, or diagnostic method for the condition. The commonest signs of the disease are diarrhoea, gut pain and bleeding from the rectum. The best estimate is from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, who say there may be up to 800,000 sufferers. Although the disease is a chronic one, last year over 187,000 patients were admitted to hospital for treatment of the condition in 2010. It is a very embarrassing condition, one that many try to ignore, of course making it more difficult to treat once they finally realise that it is necessary to seek medical intervention.
Currently, experts in the field of gastroenterology and digestive diseases are coping with a disease that can be treated, but not yet cured. The new research looked at biopsies from almost 450 patients that had been confirmed as having Crohn’s. The comparison was made between the bacterosphere in them and that within just over 220 patients that had other conditions of conditions of the digestive tract but that were non-inflammatory. This included conditions such as straightforward gut pain and diarrhoea. The gastroenterologists doing this research, in addition, looked at samples from other patients in different studies. It was an extensive piece of research, with over 1,700 data sets from patients in a wide age range.
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The bottom line, if you’ll excuse the awful pun, was that patients with Crohn’s disease had significantly greater quantities of inflammation causing bacteria. Plus many fewer bacteria identified as non-inflammatory or even anti-inflammatory when compared with patients without Crohn’s. In addition to this, antibiotic therapy exacerbated the bacterial imbalance between the good and the bad, and made matters worse.
Other gastroenterologists think that the study is very promising and something that is well worth noting down when treating patients. It opens up a number of promising avenues of further research. Such as which specific antibiotics are aggravating Crohn’s disease and which are doing the job required of them. Categorizing precisely which bacteria inflame the bowel and which are anti-inflammatory. This is vital since it may lead to therapy that builds up the anti-inflammatory bacterial population while simultaneously removing the pro inflammatory ones. So, the future of gastroenterology is only going to get better, and when you seek the medical attention from a registered professional, then you can be sure that you will get the best possible care available to help alleviate your condition.