Naturopathic Autoimmune Options to IBD: Crohn Disease & UC | Gilbert, AZ

Naturopathic, alternative options to IBD is now being offered at our Gilbert, AZ office by a Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician and Autoimmune Specialist, Dr. Michelle Barraza, NMD. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) consists of two major conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease. IBD affects over 1 million people in the US alone.

Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disorder that affects the colon and rectum. UC can affect the entire colon, or be limited to only affecting the rectum. There is a slight predominance in males for UC. Crohn disease is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune disorder that affects the entire thickness of the gastrointestinal tract, affecting the GI tract from the mouth to the perianal area. IBD peak incidence ages are 15-40 and 50-80 years old.

Naturopathic Autoimmune
Naturopathic Autoimmune in Gilbert, AZ

What are the risk factors of IBD?

Genetics can play a role in the development and susceptibility of IBD. Though 85% of patients with Crohn disease have no family history of IBD2. Having a first-degree relative with IBD can increase your risk of developing IBD by up to 20% or more2. Epigenetics, or gene expression, also plays a major role in which inherited genes are activated; epigenetics is largely manipulated by nutrition, environmental factors and other lifestyle components. Additionally, IBD appears to be more common in Jews of Israeli and American origin.

Cigarette tobacco smoking can affect the GI tract in variety of ways, influencing the immune system, vascular system, and nervous system. It may be protective in UC but will increase the risk of Crohn disease development.

Certain foods and food intolerances can also be a trigger to IBD. Certain foods can damage the lining of the gut through inflammatory reactions and lead to intestinal permeability / “leaky gut”. A “leaky gut” can lead to larger food particles, toxins, bacteria to enter the bloodstream, leading to a variety of immune responses. SIBO or small intestine bacterial overgrowth can also damage the lining of the gut; allowing undigested, large food particles and bacterial endotoxins to pass the gut wall, leading to an increase risk of an autoimmune reaction. Additionally, a study was published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showing the consumption of 100 grams of sugar can significantly decrease proper immune function. Dysbiosis may also contribute to the development of IBD, due to the dysregulation of the immune system in the GI tract. Intestinal mucus alterations, high numbers of microbes at disproportionate levels, and increased intestinal permeability are associated with IBD3.

Stress is a common trigger to IBD. According to the NCBI, stress is thought to influence neuroendocrine hormones and lead to dysregulation of the immune system. Additionally, with a high-stress lifestyle, lack of proper sleep typically follows. Insufficient sleep is associated with increase risk of IBD development.

There are many other risk factors associated with IBD including hormones, physical activity, obesity, certain infections, and medications. Our Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician in our Gilbert, AZ office, specializing in IBD and autoimmune conditions can help you determine the risk  factors involved in your particular case.

Symptoms of Ulcerative Colitis:

  • Attacks of diarrhea with or without blood (lasting weeks to months)
  • Small, frequent bowel movements
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urgency
  • Fever, fatigue, weight loss

    Alternative Options
    Naturopathic, Alternative Options to IBD: Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn disease
  • Joint pain
  • Eye symptoms

Symptoms of Crohn disease:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Pain around the anus
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain

What is our goal with every patient?

Quality of life can be greatly affected by IBD. Many of our patients are limited in their daily life: they can’t play with their kids, and more importantly, they feel limited on what they can achieve in life because they don’t feel well. Our overall goal with every patient is to guide and empower them so they may fulfill their own unique purpose and life fulfillment. Our IBD Autoimmune Specialist at our Gilbert, AZ office works to address all the components involved in your IBD case to help you gain the best quality of life possible.

How is IBD diagnosed & evaluated at Atlas Health Medical Group in Gilbert, AZ?

Our Board-Certified Naturopathic Physician at our Gilbert, AZ office has developed a comprehensive and natural approach to effectively manage and treat IBD. At your initial visits you can expect:

  • Comprehensive case history
  • Family medical history review
  • Physical Exam
  • Detailed lab review
    • Basic Blood work
    • Autoimmune specific lab tests
    • Testing for intestinal permeability
    • Food sensitivity panel
    • Environmental exposure testing

Naturopathic, Alternative Options to IBD: Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn disease in Gilbert, AZ

Our Autoimmune Specialist will specifically tailor the treatments to your individual case to get better results. Treatments can include:

  • Comprehensive evaluation and diagnostic testing

    Alternative Options
    Naturopathic, Alternative Options to IBD: Ulcerative Colitis & Crohn disease
  • Medical Nutritional guidance
  • Medical-grade vitamins & mineral supplementation
  • Lifestyle recommendations
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Lymphatic Therapy
  • Collaborative care team approach with Rheumatologist

Be free from the constraints of mismanaged IBD: ulcerative colitis & Crohn disease, and live the life you intended. Call our Autoimmune Specialist at our Gilbert, AZ office for a comprehensive alternative approach to your health.  For more information about Naturopathic Medicine please email us at

1 Uptodate. August 2017. Definition, epidemiology, and risk factors in inflammatory bowel disease
2 Uptodate. July 2016. Genetic factors in inflammatory bowel disease.
3 Uptodate. June 2016. Immune and microbial mechanisms in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease
4 Uptodate. April 2017. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis and prognosis of Crohn disease in adults

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