Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) involves chronic inflammation to the digestive and intestinal tract. The two main types of IBD are Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease. Ulcerative Colitis causes inflammation in the digestive tract and Crohn’s Disease affects the lining of the digestive tract.

Both can lead to severe, painful symptoms. Symptoms such as reduced appetite, diarrhea, trouble going to the bathroom, bloody stools, weight loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, and more. Most patients stop responding to the approved drugs and steroids approved for IBD over time and nothing is helping.

How can hyperbaric oxygen help?

Hyperbaric oxygen is a natural and non invasive therapy that gets into the hypoxic areas of the body and  can reduce the inflammation, start the growth of the blood vessels, and strengthen the immune system. Many patients that have gone through hyperbaric oxygen therapy and as a result,  have been able to get off steroid medication, have regular bowel movements, regain weight, and return to living a healthy life.

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Provided by San Diego Center for Hyperbaric


I have Crohn’s Disease and have had it since I was 34; I am currently 81 years old new.  I can honestly say that my entire inner attitude has changed.  I have had no bad episodes or any pain since starting therapy at San Diego Center for Hyperbaric Therapy.

The treatments are relaxing and comfortable and the beautiful facility and caring staff make for a very good experience. Thank you for making me feel better and continuing enjoying my life.

Thank you,


Provided by Texas Sports Hyperbaric


After hours of search engine research I collected several abstracts and medical journal articles on hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) trials for Crohn’s/colitis patients indicating beneficial results.  The side effects are nil and many pro athletes are now using HBO for performance enhancement.   I had experienced side effects from conventional drug therapies that were worse than the Crohn’s in my opinion and wanted a healthier, more natural approach to treatment. The possibility that this could help heal Crohn’s seemed plausible; a wound is a wound and HBOT is proven to heal wounds.  Crohn’s has been described as lesions or ulcers in the intestinal lining so it made sense that HBOT might work.  In addition, some research suggests that harmful bacteria in the intestines could contribute to Crohn’s and HBOT is effective at killing anaerobic bacteria. I am happy that I underwent HBOT and I saw improvements after the third treatment.

So what is HBOT?  It is breathing 100% oxygen under increased pressure.  A session is sometimes called a “dive” because the pressures are similar to SCUBA diving.  My treatment protocol consisted of a pressure 2.4 times atmospheric for 90 minutes each. I underwent 20 week-day sessions.  Establishing the protocol with the doctor is more of an art than a science.  The literature I read suggested pressures ranging from 2.0 to 2.5 times atmospheric for 20 to 40 sessions at 60 to 90 minutes each.

HBOT is FDA approved for 14 medical disorders and there are many clinical trials ongoing for expanding its use. Unfortunately, it is not currently approved for Crohn’s, therefore my insurance did not cover the cost. Using a HBOT chamber that is FDA approved was important to me, but the cost at a hospital was much more than at independent centers ($200-250 per treatment). I was fortunate to find Carolina Hyperbarics in nearby Raleigh with a FDA-approved chamber manufactured by Perry, model Sigma 40. The chamber is a clear hard shell and is comfortable allowing the patient to sit up or lie down and watch movies or TV (the monitor is mounted external to the chamber). The technician is in the room at all times and in constant communications. This HBOT center followed a rigid safety protocol such as restrictions on what you can wear and take into the chamber.  They provided the clothing, blanket, and pillow, as well as many DVDs to select.

I was finishing a short course of prednisone for my April flare-up when I began the HBOT in early June 2012.  After the third treatment I had returned to a normal bowel movement, but continued HBOT to enhance the gut healing.  In addition, I hope the treatments will prolong remission.  Time will tell. I am also a believer in intestinal healing through diet, specifically the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and resumed it during treatment and plan to follow the SCD for a year or more. I feel great and have gained back the weight and muscle I lost.  I believe the HBOT brought about healing much faster than diet alone.

In 2006, I was treated with Remicade for a Crohn’s flare up and after 3 injections I developed three melanomas insitu (skin cancer).  This was too coincidental for me since I had my freckles checked regularly since 1997 with no issues.  There is now a 2011 research study from France (Xavier Mariette, University of Paris) that indicates TNF inhibitors like Remicade appear to increase the risk of skin cancer. I ceased the Remicade and am reluctant to try other TNF inhibitors or “biologic” drugs for fear of more melanomas.  I am in remission now and find comfort knowing there is a treatment that promotes healing instead of suppressing my immune system with harmful side effects.  I won’t hesitate to turn to HBOT again if I experience the onset of a flare-up sometime in the future.