Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that affects the digestive system. It is a type of the body’s reaction to injury or irritation. It was first reported in 1932 by a New York doctor, BurrillCrohn. This disease is one of the forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease is considered as a chronic condition in most cases.It is a lifelong condition and one cannot predict when and how will one develop a relapse of the disease.
Crohn’s disease has no cure, but can be controlled with the help of drugs and surgery in some cases.
Types of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease can occur at any age between 13 to 30.It affects smokers more than non-smokers. There are different types of Crohn’s diseasedepending on the GI tract involved.
- Ileocolotis is a common type of Crohn’s disease that affects the ileum and colon.
- GastroduodenalCrohn’s disease is related to the stomach and the duodenum, that is, the start of the small intestine.
- Jejunoileitis affects the jejunum and ileum, that is, upper half of the small intestine.
- Granulomatous colitis is the condition that affects just the colon.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease range from mild to severe. These symptoms develop gradually and at times will strike without any warning. Then comes a period of remission, that can last from a few days to many months.The symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Bloody stools
- Mouth sores
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Perianal disease
In cases of severe Crohn’s disease, symptoms may include:
- Inflammation of eyes, skin as well as joints
- Inflammation of the bile ducts and liver
- Delay in growth as well as sexual development in affected children
Causes of Cronh’s Disease
The exact cause still eludes experts. Some consider diet and stress as the trigger for Crohn’s disease. However, it is found, these factors aggravate the condition and not cause it. It is considered that an immune response to invading microorganisms leads to attack on the body’s own cells leads to inflammation and Crohn’s disease. In some people, it is found to have a hereditary background and genes play a role in triggering Crohn’s disease.
How Does Crohn’s Disease Affect The Digestive System
Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive tract. It commonly develops in the ileum or colon. These affected areas appear patchy due to inflammation along with areas that appear normal in between.
Crohn’s disease causes ulceration as well as inflammation of the gut. Thus, affecting the digestion, the ability of the body to absorb nutrition as well as throw away waste from the body in a normal way.
Complications of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease can lead to complications such as formation of strictures that causes scar tissue on a narrow section of the bowel. This stricture leads to problems with the movement of the food and leads to blockage. Strictures are often treated with the help of a surgery called stricturoplasty.
Another complication related to Crohn’s disease is the development of perforations. These perforations form a hole causing leakage of the contents of the bowel. This leads to fever and pain as well as an abscess. The abscess can lead to formation of fistulas.
Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease is diagnosed when one develops unexplained diarrhea, weight loss as well as abdominal pain for several weeks. The doctor may carry out blood tests to check for inflammation and anemia. Stool test will help find signs of bleeding and inflammation as well as rule out infection as the cause of diarrhea.
Other diagnostic tests include endoscopy, Barium X-ray, MRI and CT scan.
Treatment for Crohn’s Disease
Treatment for Crohn’s disease can be surgical, medical or both. Some are advised dietary therapy depending on their condition.Medications given include anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids, immune system suppressors, antibiotics as well as anti-diarrheals, pain relievers, calcium, iron, vitamin D supplements.
In some cases, the damaged area of the gut is removed with the help of surgery. In majority the cases, the affected individuals undergo at least one surgery due to Crohn’s disease.
This was all about Crohn’s disease. Limit your intake of dairy products as well as fiber. Include plenty of liquids in your diet and have smaller meals as much a possible. Avoid smoking completely as it leads to severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Speak to your doctor and follow his/her advice that helps you manage Crohn’s disease according to your situation.
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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: April 07, 2015