The ABC’s of Crohn’s & UC: “L”

December 16, 2012 at 8:36 pm 1 comment

My heart is still heavy from the Newtown shooting in my home state but I wanted to go back to the real reason why I blog: to educate people and raise awareness about Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.

Tonight’s post is the next installment in the ABC’s of Crohn’s and UC series- the letter L.

Lactoferrin: Fecal Lactoferrin is a protein that is slightly elevated in patients with IBD. FL is a marker of inflamation and is secreted by white blood cells invading the walls of the GI tract. FL levels are tested through a stool sample. The test is used to differentiate between IBD and IBS- IBD patients have elevated levels, IBS patients do not.

Lactose Intolerance: Many IBD patients develop secondary lactose intolerance. According to the National Institutes of Health, secondary lactose intolerance

“…occurs when your small intestine decreases lactase production after an illness, surgery or injury to your small intestine. It can occur as a result of intestinal diseases, such as celiac disease, gastroenteritis and an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease.”

If you do become lactose intolerant, it isn’t the end of the world. You can take Lactaid pills and drink Lactaid milk (or other dairy-free options like Rice Milk, Silk, Almond Milk, etc.). There are also some brands of cheese that are lactose free, including Cabot cheddar cheese. I’m quite familiar with all of these options as I have been lactose intolerant since I was young and Dan became lactose intolerant shortly after being diagnosed with Crohn’s.

If you find that dairy is a trigger, try taking it out of your diet for a few days and slowly reintroduce it. I fit continues to bother you, talk to your doctor about the possibility of being lactose intolerant.

Large Intestine: One of the locations in the gastrointestinal tract where Crohn’s Disease can occur and where Ulcerative Colitis only occurs.

Laxatives: If you have a stricture, you might, at some point, be prescribed laxatives to treat the constipation caused by the stricture. However, don’t use over the counter laxatives, they might be too much for your already taxed GI tract.

Left-sided colitis: This is one of the several types of Ulcerative Colitis. Left-sided colitis extends from the rectum up through the sigmoid and descending colon. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, cramping, pain on the left side of the stomach, and unintended weight loss.

Lialda: A popular medication prescribed to treat mild to moderate cases of Ulcerative Colitis. Lialda is in the same anti-inflammatory family as Asacol, mesalamine. According to the manufacturer’s site, Lialda has three main characteristics: inducing remission, maintaining remission, and once-daily dosage.  Potential side effects of Lialda include headache, gas, abnormal liver function test results, stomachache, and inflammation of the pancreas. Patients taking Lialda may be able to use the drug’s Pharmacy Savings Card to help cover the medication’s copay.

Liver Disease: Due to its relationship to the intestines, complications, like liver disease, are common in patients with IBD.  According to CCFA, some patients may develop active inflammation in their liver, which typically subsides with treatment of IBD. Serious liver disease occurs in only around five percent of IBD patients. Some symptoms of liver disease include low energy and fatigue, itching, jaundice, fluid retention, and a feeling of fullness in the upper abdomen. Diagnosis of liver disease is done through a blood test although sometimes an ultrasound, x-ray, or liver biopsy may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

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