Crohn’s Disease

Your gut can be the set of thousands of bacteria. Good, bad, the needed and the unneeded. And more often, the gut becomes the center of conditions that may affect your day to day living from simple constipation to diarrhea to irritable bowel to food intolerance. These digestive conditions are often ranging from mild condition into severe cases of disruptive gut problems.

One of the disruptive gut problems many can relate about is Crohn’s disease (to be referred all throughout the article as CD).

CD affects 700, 000 Americans and can be experienced by both men and women. It is more prevalent through among young adults in the age 15-35. Developed countries tend to have more CD cases, urban cities may have more cases than rural places and northern climates may have higher number than southern ones.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

CD is a condition wherein the digestive tract is inflamed. It can affect any part of the gut starting from the mouth all the way to the anus. It affects 1 in every 5, 000 people in UK and is said to be more prevalent among women.

CD is often tricky to diagnose since its symptoms can be similar to those of IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Genes and heredity can play a big part in it. For that, Jewish people are known to have higher chance of developing the condition and those who have a type of inflammatory bowel disease can be a likely candidate in the future.

Causes of CD

CD’s causes can’t be pointed out but there are things that can be attributed to it and some things that can flare it up.

Researcher’s though believed that it is a result of some abnormal reaction of the body’s immune system. In normal guts, the immune system attacks bacteria to protect the body. In a person with CD, his or her immune system attacks the good bacteria, the food and the substances that could have helped the digestive process.  Due to this, the white blood cells start accumulating in the lining of the guts or the intestines which results to chronic inflammation.

After the inflammation, ulcers, sores and injury to the guts may follow.

The genes, the immune system and few of environmental factors are the main reason or cause of the condition.

What are its symptoms?

CD may make you experience several things. Here’s a list of its symptoms:

  1. Pain. Due to the inflammation, pain can be felt. It happens in the lower right side of the abdomen.
  2. Gut ulcers. Blood in the stools can be another symptom of CD. This can be due to the ulcers in that gut that bleeds.
  3. Mouth ulcers. Mouth ulcers are also fairly common.
  4. Diarrhea. Occasional diarrhea can also be common. It can range from mild to severe and can include pus, mucus and even blood.
  5. Fatigue. Fatigue, tiredness and fever are another symptom of CD.
  6. Appetite change.  Appetite of people with CD may experience the high and low. Sometimes they may feel like eating and sometimes they don’t have the stomach to swallow food.
  7. Anemia. Due to blood loss, anemia can be experienced later.
  8. Rectal bleeding. Due to anal fissures, rectal bleeding can happen. The experience can be very painful.
  9. Arthritis, skin rash, liver inflammation and eye inflammation are also possible symptoms.

Common Treatments

Most often, CD can be diagnosed through stool and blood tests. Biopsy and colonoscopy can be requested as well. Endoscopy, CT scan and barium meal x-ray are also good if its available. After it has been diagnosed, there are plenty of paths to choose from to treat it.

The treatment though may vary depending on where the inflammation is located. Here are some quick options:

    1. Anti-inflammatory medications
    2. Steroids
    3. Immunosuppressant drugs
    4. Antibiotics
    5. Infliximab
    6. Anti-diarrheal dn fluid replacement therapy
    7. Surgery
    8. Supplements such as omega-3.

Yes, you may have some medications to help but the last one option is the newest find today. Omega-3 is said to help and can address both inflammation issues and can prevent flare ups.

The benefits of omega-3 and Crohn’s disease will be discussed in the next article, Omega-3 for Treatment of Crohn’s Disease.

Image Credit: Zellaby via Flickr