Crohn’s Disease is a colorectal medical condition that causes a chronic inflammation to the digestive tract. Commonly, the disease affects the small intestine. For those who suffer from Crohn’s disease, you’re likely to experience flare-ups, generally accompanied by moderate to severe stomach pain, diarrhea, bouts of low energy and weight loss.
Causes of Crohn’s Disease remains relatively mysterious in that researchers and the medical community at large have yet to identify a cause for the illness. Some medical professionals have postulated that the disease is a result of the body’s immune system reacting abnormally to relatively normal digestive bacteria common among all people.
Some researchers have also suggested that the disease is largely hereditary as it has been found to run in families. Studies suggest that if a close relative, such as your brother, sister or parent has Crohn’s disease, then the likelihood of developing the illness increases.
Though different patients with Crohn’s Disease can often experience different symptoms, in general, several tend to commonly occur among patients that suffer from this condition. Crohn’s Disease symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
- Weight loss
- Appetite loss
If you experience any of the above symptoms, seeing a physician is highly encouraged. After discussing your symptoms in depth, a doctor will conduct a physical exam. Several other exams may be required in order to diagnosis Crohn’s Disease and pinpoint exactly what you suffer from. Some of these tests may include a colonoscopy, barium x-rays of the small intestine, CT scan or MRI, a stool analysis, or a biopsy. Some or all of these tests may be conducted to determine your diagnosis and assist in alleviating your symptoms.
In terms of Crohn’s Disease complications, the greatest risks are from flare-ups and increases in one’s symptoms. Known causes of these flare-ups include smoking, taking certain medications, dramatic lifestyle changes, as well as infections or hormone changes.
Many patients ask us how to prevent Crohn’s Disease. Unfortunately for those who suffer from Crohn’s Disease, the condition cannot be prevented. This is due to the fact that the cause of the disease still remains relatively unclear to this day. However, for those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, there is hope: a number of treatments exist that have been proven to reduce the severity of the diseases symptoms. Additionally, you can adopt several lifestyle changes to similarly disrupt the typical cycle of recurring symptoms.
A number of conventional Crohn’s Disease treatments, as well as lifestyle tweaks, have been shown to reduce the extent to which Crohn’s Disease’s symptoms affect your quality of life. In more conventional terms, medical professionals have come up with several recommended medication-based treatments:
- Aminosalicylates help reduce inflammation ranging from mild to moderate
- Corticosteroids, is another powerful anti-inflammatory drug
- Immunomodulators are also used to reduce inflammation, however, are more of a long-term solution
- Antibiotics are particularly helpful in combating ailments that commonly accompany the disease, such as infections or abscesses.
- Many of these treatments are available in prescription form, so a discussion with your doctor is highly recommended.
As well as prescriptions, a number of lifestyle changes can make it easier for you to alleviate some of the pain concomitant with Crohn’s Disease. Among these adjustments, not smoking in any capacity can do wonders; smoking tends to aggravate symptoms and increase stress on your body; eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, and getting regular exercise can result in higher energy levels, less stress on your digestive tract, and a more positive balance of chemicals in our body.