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Crohn's Disease- Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

02 July, 2022 Ananya Das

Original Blog Source: 3Meds.com

Introduction

Learn about Crohn's disease symptoms, causes, and treatments, including medication, surgery, and dietary and lifestyle changes. The symptoms and causes of Crohn's disease affect both men and women. Learn about the severity of symptoms, and about what causes Crohn's disease. Although not a cure, a drug called Humira can treat Crohn's Disease. Learn how to helps Crohn's Disease, what it's for, and how to take it. A Crohn's disease diagnosis is no easy thing for patients and their families to cope with. Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the gut. Here's what you need to know about its symptoms, possible causes and treatments. The health and the happiness of a person are a lot related to his stomach and digestive system. Any form of discomfort in the stomach can lead to major inefficiency throughout the day. Every time and whenever we will be doing something, the focus will, again and again, shift toward the stomach. Some of the most common problems we face in the stomach are stomach aches, inflammation, diarrhea, etc. Usually, these are not so serious and come and go within sometime. But what if it persists for a longer time? What if its frequency increases manifolds? What if it becomes a part of your life? Can all these happen? The answer is YES. A frequent occurrence of inflammation in the digestive tract can happen in some people. This is a form of inflammatory bowel disease. This disease is called Crohn’s disease. This is very discomforting and usually causes the digestive tract to swell up and irritates it. Crohn’s disease is a chronic illness. It causes major symptoms of discomfort in the digestive system of the patient. Starting from the mouth to the anus, any part of the digestive tract can get affected by it. Apart from just the digestive tract, it can also affect other parts of the body like the skin, bones, joints, and major organs like the liver, kidney, and eyes. This condition is also called an autoimmune-mediated inflammatory condition.

Types and their symptoms

Now depending on which part of the digestive tract is affected by the disease, Crohn's disease is further divided into various types. Each type has a specific region where the disease occurs and has specific symptoms associated with it. Even the treatment to be given for the suppression of the symptoms is based on the type of Crohn’s disease. Now let us have look at each type of Crohn’s disease.

Ileocolitis

The most common type of Crohn’s disease that affects the majority of people is Ileocolitis. In this type of condition, the inflammation and irritation take place in the last section of the small intestine. Mostly colon, the large intestine or the ileum, the lower part of the small intestine are affected by this. Some of the symptoms that you can except due to the development of this kind of Crohn’s disease are listed below.

  • Sudden and extreme weight loss in a short period of time.
  • Diarrhea
  • Aching in the abdomen, especially in the middle and the lower parts

Ileitis

When a patient with Crohn’s disease suffers from inflammation in the ileum, they are said to be affected by Ileitis. The symptoms suffered during this kind of the disease are almost the same as that of Ileocolitis. But one specific symptom that develops during this kind of the disease, is gastrointestinal fistulas. These fistulas are actually the pathways by the small intestine walls that produce inflammation. These channels act as a bridge or connecting path between the small intestine and the other body parts including the skin. Usually, through these inflammatory channels, digestive juices can leak out to surrounding tissues and organs and hence, resulting in various major health issues. Some of the complications associated with fistulas are dehydration, malnutrition, and extreme weight loss. 

Gastroduodenal Crohn’s

This is the kind of Crohn’s disease that occurs in the initial or first part of the small intestine. The major affected areas are the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. In this condition, the patient may suffer various symptoms. One major symptom of the condition is vomiting which occurs only when due to intestinal inflammation, the small part of the bowel gets blocked. Besides, the other symptoms of the same condition are mentioned below.

  • Nausea
  • Weight loss significantly
  • Feeling less hungry or  loss of appetite

Jejunoileitis

When the middle part of the small intestine gets affected then this form of condition develops. In the jejunum part of the small intestine suffers from inflammation, then jejunoileitis is said to occur. If the inflammation persists for a very long period of time, then it results in the development of fistulas in the small intestine. Some of the common symptoms found in the patients with jejunoileitis are mentioned below.

  • Intense abdominal pains
  • Severe  stomach cramps after every meal
  • Fistulas in the jejunum
  • Diarrhea

Crohn's colitis

When the last part of the large intestine suffers from inflammation then the condition is called Crohn’s colitis. This occurs in the colon and hence is its name. Due to the development of this condition, there develops ulcers, fistulas, and abscesses around the anus and hence causing severe pain and discomfort. Some of the common symptoms of this disease include the

  • Skin lesions
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pains
  • Blood while passing stool

Causes and Risk factors

Even after the advancement of medical science and technology around the world, the exact cause of Crohn's disease is a mystery. Many theories have been put forward by medical scientists and doctors from around the world to justify the cause of the disease but none of them is still proven. Many suggest that Crohn’s disease develops due to the immune reaction of the body to the food consumed. This results in inflammation within the gastrointestinal tract and hence causes discomfort. Apart from this, doctors suggest that the following are the risk factors for Crohn’s disease. So if they are present then it can risk the development of Crohn's disease.

  • Environmental conditions
  • Smoking
  • Genetics
  • Family history
  • The immune system of the body

Management

Having known so many details about the condition, now let us know how the condition can be managed. The management of the disease is very important to bring some comfort to your life. The major management methods include the following two ways.

Focus on your diet

Bringing change to your diet plan can result in being very helpful to manage your condition. As we know, Crohn’s disease gives sudden and unpleasant flare-ups. These flare-ups can suddenly ruin your good-going day. Since you can’t totally stop it, so you need to have some ways to reduce its occurrence or reduce the problems it can cause. This can be more efficiently done by focussing on your diet plan. A change in diet and shift from an unhealthy and inflammation-causing diet to low fiber, fortified cereals, or refined grains can be helpful. These reduce the pressure on your guts and can easily pass through the digestive tract even without causing inflammation.

 

Hence for your help, we have listed below some of the major helping edibles if you are suffering from Crohn’s disease.

  • Oats and oatmeal
  • Low-fiber fruits, vegetables, and cereals. 
  • Lean meat
  • Clean and cooked vegetables
  • Yogurt
  • Green tea
  • And drink plenty of water throughout the day

 

Besides these, there are also various other food elements that can be helpful for you. But before starting up any new diet while suffering from Crohn’s disease, it is better if you consult your doctor. Because based on the position where the condition is affecting you, the type of treatment varies.

Bring some changes in your lifestyle

Bringing healthy changes into your lifestyle can actually bring peace to your digestive tract. Including healthy habit can help you to fight the problems the condition cause and provide you relief from the severe symptoms. Some of the things you can do in your daily routine are exercise, healthy eating habits, healthy sleeping patterns, and reducing or eliminating unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. These may not help in treating the ailment completely but will help you in relieving the symptoms. So, if you actually want to get peace in your digestive system, make sure to bring and follow some of these above suggestions for change.

Diagnosis

To treat the condition first it's important to diagnose the condition. For proper diagnosis, doctors may start by asking about the symptoms. Following this, your doctor may ask you to perform certain physical tests and medical tests. Only after proper diagnosis through these tests, the actual region and the type of the condition can be found. Following this, the method of treatment and the medications are prescribed.

Physical examination

Under this method of diagnosis, the patient is checked for normal health parameters. If the candidate is found to have some abnormality like abdominal swelling, strange sounds from the digestive tract, and bloating then that is checked with lab tests. Besides, the medical history of the family members is also judged. This helps in identifying the relevance of the symptoms the patient is suffering from.

Laboratory tests

Following the physical tests, the patient is prescribed to perform certain lab examinations. These help in ruling out various other possible conditions. Some of the major lab tests prescribed to diagnose Crohn’s disease include,

  • Blood tests
  • Testing of stool samples
  • CT scan of teh abdomen
  • Colonoscopy
  • Enteroscopy
  • Endoscopy

 

Upon properly conducting these tests, the results help to reject the possible conditions and confirm the presence of Crohn’s disease. Following this, a proper treatment procedure is prescribed and started.

Treatment

Still, now, Crohn’s disease is considered to have no cure. The only thing that can be done is to prevent it from developing or if developed then use measures to reduce the flare-ups and symptoms. For doing these, usually, the following two methods are used by doctors. Either they will prescribe medicines to you based on your condition’s severity and the type or they will suggest surgery. Surgery is always the last option when the condition gets so severe that it can’t be anymore treated just with medicines or precautions. Now let us know in detail about these treatment methods.

Prescription of suitable medications

During Crohn’s disease, there occurs a lot of weight loss and malnutrition in the patient body. Besides, he suffers from a variety of discomforting symptoms. So, to help patients get relief from the inflammation and slowly cool down the symptoms, doctors prescribe them suitable medicines. The kind and the dosage of the medicine prescribed usually depends on the type of the condition patient is suffering from and the severity of his symptoms.

Some of the commonly prescribed medicines to treat the condition are mentioned below.

  • Aminosalicylates help to regulate inflammation. Usually, it is prescribed to patients with mild symptoms.
  • Immunomodulators control inflammation by reducing the immune activity of the body. 
  • Antibiotics prevent or treat infections resulting from fistulas
  • Loperamide help in managing severe diarrhea

 

Besides these, your doctor may prescribe you certain dietary supplements. These are usually given when the patient is suffering from major malnourishment. This happens due to indigestion and inflammation in the digestive tract. So, to fulfill the nutritional needs of the patient, the doctor prescribes him some supplements.

Suggesting for surgery

Studies show that almost 60% of patients suffering from Crohn’s disease have to undergo surgery. Surgery is done to remove the affected part of the digestive tract. This helps in reducing inflammation and discomfort, but it can’t treat the condition. Even after successful surgery, the condition may develop in nearby parts of the digestive tract. Usually, surgery is preferred as the last option while treating patients with Crohn’s disease. This is because firstly treatment with medicines and management methods is started. But when the condition worsens over time and fistulas, abscesses and hemorrhages start to develop and the discomfort rises manifolds, then the patient is made to undergo surgery.

Conclusion

Crohn’s disease is a bowel inflammation disease. It happens with the development of major discomfort and usually hampers the normal functioning of the body. It reduces the efficiency of the individual and gives a lot of abdominal pain accompanied by severe weight reduction and malnutrition. Hence, it's very important to take care of the experiences you have with your stomach. With the diagnosis of the condition in the early stages, the chances of developing severe symptoms can be reduced. And with starting the required treatment procedure at right time, the chances of worsening the condition can be prevented. Hence, make sure to avoid taking any kind of medicine by yourself while you suffer from any form of inflammation in the stomach. Instead, consult a doctor and follow a proper treatment to get relief from the condition.