People across the country suffer from Crohn’s disease. This painful disease causes inflammation in the bowels and the digestive tract. Crohn’s disease isn’t a disease which simply reaches a level and then stays at it.
Crohn’s disease will continue to grow and spread throughout the bowel. In some cases, Crohn’s disease can cause serious or even potentially fatal complications.
There may not currently be a cure for Crohn’s disease, but many people are able to live regular lives with it. Treatment is focused on reducing and containing the signs and symptoms. For some people, remission is possible. Learn more about this painful and troublesome disease including causes, symptoms and treatments.
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
Unfortunately, the direct cause of Crohn’s remains undetermined. Doctors have believed in the past that people would get Crohn’s disease through a poor diet or too much stress. They are now known triggers for flare ups of Crohn’s disease.
There are now two main things that are believed to be the causes of Crohn’s disease. The first is family history. If someone has had other family members with Crohn’s disease, then it’s more likely they will get it as well. The other factor is a person’s immune system. It’s believed that sometimes an abnormal response to a virus or bacteria can cause the body’s immune system to attack the bowels instead.
People are more at risk if they are around 30 years of age. That’s when most people get Crohn’s. People who smoke also have a higher rate of getting Crohn’s disease. Some medications and a person’s ethnicity can also increase the chance of getting Crohn’s disease.
Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease Through Symptoms
There are many symptoms that can occur for people with Crohn’s disease. These symptoms will allow a doctor to diagnose the condition. See a doctor with any symptoms is a good idea, but especially if bowel habits have made a drastic change and/or show some of these symptoms:
- Diarrhea - This symptoms can range from mild to severe, but is very common.
- Fever - Fever is a very common symptom of many different conditions.
- Fatigue - Like fever, fatigue is felt in a large variety of conditions.
- Abdominal Cramping and Pain - This symptom should always result in a trip to the doctor as it’s a major consideration of Crohn’s disease.
- Blood in Stool - This is another common symptom of Crohn’s, though it can also be a sign of other digestive issues.
- Unexpected Weight Loss - This is often also combined with a lack of appetite and loss of interest in food.
- Pain In Anus - This is due to the heavy inflammation that can occur when a fistula forms.
People with severe cases of Crohn’s disease can find that their skin, eyes, joints, liver and bile ducts. Symptoms can disappear and then flare up seemingly at random sometimes.
Treating Crohn’s Disease
While there’s no cure for Crohn’s, there are many treatments which help in reducing the severity of symptoms and the severity of flare ups. Long term remission of Crohn’s is possible and the ideal scenario.
The main aspect of Crohn’s disease treatment is medication. This focuses on three different types. The first are drugs that work to reduce the inflammation that’s caused. The second type works to suppress the immune system. Finally, antibiotics will often work to help heal some of the damage that Crohn’s disease causes. While these three are the three main types, some other medications can be used for pain relief, or to supplement lost vitamins and minerals.
Additional treatment can involve a change in diet to “nutrition therapy”. Nutrition therapy will involve receiving nutrition through an IV or through injections. This gives the bowel some time to not have to deal with its normal duties and relax a little bit.