Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition.
It can be both painful and debilitating and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
There is no known medical cure for Crohn's disease; however, therapies can greatly reduce the signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease and even bring about long-term remission.
Symptoms for Crohn’s can range from mild to severe, and may develop gradually or come on suddenly, without warning. Diarrhea, abdominal pain and cramping, blood in your stool, ulcers, deduced appetite and weight loss are the common symptoms of Crohn’s; however, there may also be other symptoms depending on the patient.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown. However, doctors believe that diet and stress may contribute to the disease. Although these factors have only proven to aggravate existing Crohn’s disease, they don’t cause it. Other doctors think that Crohn’s may be hereditary, or related to a malfunctioning immune system.
The doctor will likely diagnose Crohn's disease only after ruling out other possible causes for your signs and symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis and colon cancer.
Tests and procedures that are done to conclude Crohn’s include blood tests, fecal occult blood test (FOBT), colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, small bowel imaging , computerized tomography (CT), and capsule endoscopy.
Since there is no known cure for Crohn’s, the goal of medical treatment is to reduce the inflammation that triggers signs and symptoms. In the best case scenario, it may lead not only to symptom relief, but also to long-term remission. Drugs may work for some patients and not others. Treatments that are available are anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, and surgery.
When a person with Crohn’s disease is diagnosed, their lifestyle and home remedies changes. There is no firm evidence that what you eat actually causes IBD, but foods and beverages can aggravate signs and symptoms. As with diet, stress dose not cause Crohn’s, it can make signs and symptoms much worse. When you're stressed, your normal digestive process changes.
Providing support and helping a Crohn’s patient cope is critical. Crohn’s doesn't just affect you physically, but emotionally as well. If signs and symptoms are severe, a person's life may revolve around a constant need to run to the toilet. Due to the constant restroom runs, a person is barely able to leave the house, making it very difficult to be in public. Isolation, embarrassment and anxiety that comes along with Crohn’s can severely alter your life.