Crohn’s disease has been known since 1932 when Dr. Burrill B. Crohn and his colleagues described this inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is estimated that over 750,000 citizens are living with this condition. Crohn’s disease information continues to be uncovered, though gastroenterologists are yet to pinpoint what exactly causes this disease or come up with a cure. For people living with Crohn’s disease knowing as much as possible about the disease and its management is the best option for relief.
What is Crohn’s disease?
This is a type of IBD that usually affects the small intestines and the colon, but can occur in any part of the digestive system. Common symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. This is why some people mistakenly referred to it as the ‘bathroom disease.
There are several types of Crohn’s disease:
This occurs in the large intestines and is the lesser common type, occurring in about 30% of people with Crohn’s disease.
This occurs in the small intestines and the top of the large intestines. It is observed in about 70% of Crohn’s sufferers.
What causes it?
Researchers are yet to discover the exact causes of the Crohn’s disease. But the Crohn’s disease information has linked some factors to the disease, including:
- Body immunity robustness
- Genetics – It is observed that about 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a history of the disease in the family.
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Many people take longer to get the disease diagnosed. This is because its early symptoms are also indicators of other digestive system problems including food poisoning and severe stomach upsets. Some of these early symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Frequent urge to move bowels
- Blood in the stool
- Weight loss
- Constant fatigue
Unattended Crohn’s disease can lead to the elevated severity of symptoms including:
- Ulcers along the digestive systems that can occur at any stage; mouth, stomach intestines or colon
- Anemia that is accompanied by shortness of breath
- Inflammation and pain in the joints
- Development of a perianal fistula that leads to uncontrolled stool leakage
There are factors that aggravate the severity of these symptoms:
- Period of illness
- Old age
- The extent to which the rectum is affected
The weakened immunity of the digestive system makes it more susceptible to opportunistic infections. Crohn’s disease information shows that people suffering from it are at a higher risk of developing digestive tract infections caused by bacteria and fungi that are usually resisted by a healthy body. People with Crohn’s are also seen to have higher incidences of candidiasis or yeast infection.
How is Chron’s disease different from IBS?
It is common for people with Crohn’s disease to think they are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But there are two significant differences; IBS occurs only in the large intestines while Crohn’s can occur in any part of the digestive system. IBS does not lead to deterioration of the digestive tissue while Crohn’s can significantly damage tissue by inflammation and ulceration. IBS symptoms are less severe than Crohn’s disease.
How is Crohn’s disease managed?
Crohn’s disease takes different forms in different individuals which makes treatment tailor-made from one Crohn’s sufferer to the other. There are two main approaches to managing Crohn’s disease:
Anti-inflammatory medications are usually deployed for quick relief from symptoms. Antibiotics are also usually prescribed to clear harmful bacteria in the digestive tract stable.
This is the last option when responding to extensive damage to the digestive tract. Surgery is used to remove scar tissue and repair deep tissue.
The information of Crohn’s disease has shown that lifestyle adjustment is the best approach to prevent aggravation of Crohn’s disease symptoms and reverse their effects.
- Limiting dairy intake
Dairy intake has been associated with abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
- Limiting fiber intake
While fiber is usually recommended for a healthy gut, the indigestible food matter can aggravate a sensitive digestive tract.
- Lower fat intake
People with Crohn’s disease are not able to digest fat effectively which may cause diarrhea.
- Higher water intake
A diseased digestive tract is unable to absorb water as efficiently as needed. This necessitates a higher water intake.
Better stress management
Elevated stress levels have been observed to lead to flare-ups in people with Crohn’s disease. Better stress management techniques including better sleeping patterns, exercise, and meditation can add to the overall efforts in managing the disease.
Crohn’s disease can flare repeatedly when it is not properly managed. Early diagnosis makes it possible to manage it before it turns into a life-threatening situation. The information of Crohn’s disease will also keep getting more accurate with better technological advances and more opportunities for relief from this condition.