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My journal of my battle with Crohns disease. I have had Crohn's diagnosed since September 2007. In that time I've been through two surgeries, two colonoscopies, and tons of good and bad times. I want to share my experiences with this disorder and hope to hear some feedback from time to time.

Viagra May Help Crohn's Disease

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I recently ran across an article that’s over a year old but I though it was interesting. It mentioned how researchers in the U.K. have a new theory to explain the cause of Crohn's disease, and they say medications like the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra may prove useful for treating the bowel disorder if they are right.

We all know that with Crohn's disease, chronic inflammation causes ulcers within the digestive tract that can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, persistent diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.

Right now, the researchers from the University College London say the most widely accepted theory is that an overactive immune system causes the damaging inflammation.

They believe however, a weaker-than-normal immune response triggers the bowel inflammation that leads to Crohn's disease.

Researchers say "The wall of the bowel is normally an effective barrier against the bowel contents, but sometimes the barrier is broken by an infection or injury and the bowel contents, which include large numbers of bacteria, penetrate into the bowel wall.”

Also, stated was "Normally, an acute inflammatory response would kick in to remove the bacteria and return the condition of the bowel to normal. But in Crohn's disease, we think that the acute inflammation fails to kick-start, leaving bacteria to fester in the bowel wall which, in turn, triggers chronic, secondary inflammations."

The scientists conducted a series of experiments that measured white blood cell production in both Crohn's patients and healthy patients. With inflammation, white blood cell numbers are expected to rise. They found that the Crohn's patients produced unexpectedly lower levels of white blood cells and proteins involved in inflammation, compared with people without the disorder.

That is why they believe drugs like Viagra, which open the blood vessels and increase blood flow, may help. The researchers tested this theory by treating 10 Crohn's patients with 50 milligrams of Viagra after injecting them with the killed gut bacteria. They found that blood flow to the infected area improved. They say, "Increasing blood flow is an important part of the inflammatory response, and that is why this drug may work."

So, I guess I will try to look a little more into this and see what I can find. If anyone else has any info, please share. Thanks.

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