Alternative Treatment

Alternative and complimentary medicine use is highly prevalent in IBD patients[1]. Studies report that one out of two IBD patients try alternative and complimentary medicines. They include a wide range of products that are not generally considered to be a part of conventional medicine, such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, relaxation techniques, and meditation. The diversity of alternative and complimentary treatment options explains in part why the reported use of these treatment options range from 31% to 74% in patients with IBD.[2]


Alternative medicines are typically nonmainstream, nontraditional approaches to treat an illness, rather than a conventional medicine..


Complimentary medicines are typically the use of a nonmainstream medicine along with conventional treatment(s).


Natural treatments include the following: (1) probiotics (yogurt is one of the most common sources of probiotics; (2) prebiotics, which are non-digestible carbohydrates found in foods like bananas, onions, and garlic; (3) fish oil, which has been shown to promote cholesterol health and has been proposed to be beneficial in treating CD; (4) acupuncture, (5) biofeedback in the form of relaxation therapy; (6) herbal treatments, such as chamomile tea. You should talk to your doctor before trying any alternative or complimentary treatments.3



[1] Nguyen GC, et al. Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Inflammatory Bowel Disease is Associated with Worse Adherence to Conventional Therapy: The Compliant Study. Inflamm Bowel Dis 2016;6:1412-1417.

[2] Openheim R, et al. The use of complementary and alternative medicine among patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease is associated with reduced quality of life. Gastroenterology Research and Practice 2016;6453657.

[3] Natural Treatments for Crohn’s Disease. Faris and Jaime Herndon. Accessed on Sept. 26, 2017 at: https://