From diarrhea to abdominal pain, and even drastic weight loss, bowel issues can be so frustrating. One such condition is Crohn’s disease. It invites with it several problems that can range from mild to severe. Fortunately however, it is very much treatable.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease causes severe inflammation off the digestive tract. As a result, you may experience problems such as acute diarrhea, malnutrition, abdominal pain, weight loss, and fatigue. Also, the same disease can vary from one person to another. The severity of symptoms will also vary in that case. While Crohn’s disease usually associates mainly the colon and the small intestine, it is no surprise if it involves other sections of the digestive system too.
As mentioned earlier, the major effect of Crohn’s disease is inflammation in the digestive tract. Now, this effect can penetrate different layers of the bowel tissue as well. That is when you can realize that it is time to get treated. The disease may range from painful to debilitating, it can also result in fatal complications. However,the good part is that, treatment for Crohn’s disease is very much available, and the symptoms can be treated completely. Also, you will have to go through a lifestyle change including a shift to a healthier diet for the best results.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
Here are some of the primary signs of Crohn’s disease.
- Belly cramps and pain
- Weight loss
- Blood along with stool
- Frequent urge for a bowel movement
- Mouth sores
- Painful sores in the anus area
- Loss of appetite
Apart from the most common ones, these are a few more signs of Crohn’s disease:
- Inflammation of eyes, skin, and joints
- Delay in sexual development or growth in children
- Inflammatory issues in the bile ducts or liver
You don’t need to experience all of the above symptoms simultaneously. The effects vary from person to person. So, you must be careful and visit the doctor when you notice even the slightest abnormality.
Causes of Crohn's Disease
The most popular answer to the question of “what causes the Crohn’s disease” is that it is a combination of problems with your-
- Immune system
A recent study pointed out a few more conditions that may influence the development of Crohn’s disease. The conditions are:
- Whether the person smokes
- Duration of the symptoms
- Whether the rectum is affected
- The person’s age
A person suffering from the disease is more prone to intestinal infections caused by bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses. Such infections may influence the complications and severity of the symptoms that you are experiencing. Moreover, yeast infections that affect the intestinal tract and lungs are also results of advanced stages of Crohn’s disease. So, it is very important to be aware of and visit a doctor in the early stages. It helps in proper and effortless treatment.
Possible complications from Crohn's Disease
Severe Crohn’s disease can lead to the following list of complications:
- Bowel obstruction
- Anal fissure
- Colon cancer
- Medication risks
Diagnosis of Crohn's Disease
When you go for a Crohn’s disease test, get ready for the doctor to do a few basic tests. It is because he will start treating you based on the symptoms of Crohn’s disease only after he is sure that you aren’t suffering from any other problem. Also, there is no single test that can diagnose Crohn’s disease.
Here are a few tests that the doctor is going to perform to make sure about what treatment will suit your case:
- Blood test
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Capsule endoscopy
- Balloon-assisted endoscopy
Treatment options from Crohn's Disease
The diagnosis is done and it is time for the final treatment. As mentioned earlier, there is no specific treatment for the condition. So, the doctor will carry out different methods to control the symptoms of the disease from increasing. They are:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as Corticosteroids and Amino-salicylates
- Immune issue suppressors
- Pain killers
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin B-12 shots
- Vitamin-D and calcium supplements
- Nutrition therapy
- Surgery (for severe cases)
What are the lifestyle and dietary changes that I must include to keep symptoms at bay?
There are quite a few restrictions that you need to maintain. Here are some of the major ones:
- Reduce the intake of dairy products
- Low fat-foods
- Reduce fiber intake
- Try to avoid spicy foods, caffeine, and alcohol
- Make your meals smaller
- Stay hydrated always
- Consider multivitamins
- Keep away any kind of stress
What are the alternative medicines that I can try?
The following are a few alternative remedies for Crohn’s disease:
- Nutritional and herbal supplements
- Fish oil
Does Crohn’s disease worsen with age?
Crohn’s is a chronic condition that can stay for a lifetime if not treated properly. The nature of the disease may also become progressive. However, that is not the common case. It can only happen if the inflammatory issues in the GI tract worsen with time.
Is Crohn’s disease hereditary?
Though there is no specific answer to this question. However, some studies suggest that genetic and hereditary conditions may be one of the possible causes that influence Crohn’s disease.