Common meds can raise Crohn's misery

If you've been fighting off the pain, discomfort and outright humiliation of bowel-bending Crohn's disease, there's a class of drug you've probably been given more than once.

It's antibiotics, and docs pass them out like chocolate eggs on Easter despite the fact that these meds have proven to do almost nothing for the condition.

And now, new research shows antibiotics can do something much worse than nothing: They can actually dial your Crohn's misery up an extra notch.

Antibiotics wreck the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut, which is why even healthy patients often find themselves battling bowel disorders after a single course.

Crohn's patients already suffer from bacterial imbalances, even without touching an antibiotic. In the new study, for example, they were found to have low levels of the good bugs needed for digestion and immune health.

Even worse, they have higher levels of the bad ones -- including bacteria from the same families as Salmonella and E. coli

And when Crohn's patients take antibiotics, those imbalances could get even worse, according to the new study.

Clearly, it's time to stop giving antibiotics to Crohn's patients, especially when there's no evidence they help anyway. And if you're battling this condition yourself, the study shows that you could almost certainly benefit from a quality probiotic supplement.

I recommend one that includes human-tested strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus bifidus and Saccharomyces boulardii.

But don't stop there. A probiotic can help, but it's not enough to beat Crohn's by itself.

Crohn's often has an immune system component, in which the body attacks itself. It's so severe that your body can actually kill off good bacteria in the stomach even without the help of antibiotics.

This overactive immune response also causes inflammation levels in the gut to spiral out of control, which in turn makes the condition even worse.

That's why the best way to fight Crohn's isn't with a single approach. It's with a holistic approach -- so along with a quality probiotic, take a proven natural anti-inflammatory such as fish oil as well as a stomach-soothing remedy like aloe vera.

There's even evidence that some homeopathic remedies can help.

Be sure to get tested for food sensitivities, as they can play a major role in this disease. And don't forget the power of lifestyle changes to ease your suffering. Avoid all processed foods (especially fast foods) and limit your sugar intake.