Inflammatory bowel diseases, such as crohn’s disease, are increasingly common among young adults. They have increased over the past ten years and it is believed that the lifestyle favors their appearance and crises.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic intestinal inflammation that affects the entire digestive system. It usually occurs in the small intestine and colon and can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus.
What can be mild or irritating for some can be painful and debilitating for others. Symptoms vary and can change over time. In some people, Crohn’s disease can lead to life-threatening complications.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease usually develop gradually . Certain symptoms can also get worse over time, although it is possible, it is rare for symptoms to develop suddenly and critically.
Early symptoms of Crohn’s disease can include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood in the stool
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Feeling of incomplete evacuation
- Frequent need to evacuate
Sometimes it is possible to confuse them with symptoms of another condition, such as food poisoning , poor digestion or allergy . Symptoms may become more severe as the disease progresses . And they can include:
- Perianal fistula, which causes pain and drainage near your anus
- Ulcers that can occur anywhere from the mouth to the anus
- Inflammation of joints and skin
Early detection and diagnosis can prevent serious complications and allow early treatment.
What Causes Crohn’s Disease?
Doctors still don’t know what causes it, how it starts, who is most likely to develop it, or how to best treat it. However, the following factors can influence the appearance of Crohn’s disease:
- Immune system problems
- Genetic factors
- Environmental factors
Up to 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have a parent, child or sibling with the disease.
Some factors can affect the severity of the symptoms. That includes:
- Stress levels
Types of Crohn’s Disease
There are five different types of Crohn’s disease. They include:
Crohn’s gastroduodenal disease – Affects the stomach and duodenum, which is the first part of the small intestine. About 5% of people with Crohn’s disease have this type.
Jejunoileitis – Occurs in the second portion of the intestine, called jejunum. This type affects about 5% of people with Crohn’s disease.
Ileitis – Is the inflammation in the last part of the small intestine, or ileum. About 30% of people with Crohn’s disease have this condition.
Ileocolitis – Affects the ileum and the colon, it is the most common type of Crohn’s. Approximately 50% of people with Crohn’s disease have this type.
Colitis – About 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have colitis, a condition that affects only the colon. Both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s colitis affect only the colon.
Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis
No single test result can allow a doctor to diagnose Crohn’s disease. It will begin by eliminating any other possible causes for the symptoms you experience. The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is a process of elimination.
The doctor can use several types of tests to arrive at the diagnosis:
Blood tests – Look for certain indicators of potential problems, such as anemia.
Stool tests – Help to detect blood in the stool.
Endoscopy – To obtain a better image of the interior of the upper gastrointestinal tract.
Colonoscopy – To examine the lower half of the intestine.
Computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging – They offer more details than an average X-ray. Both tests allow specific areas of tissues and organs to be seen.
Once the doctor has completed the necessary tests and ruled out other possible reasons for the symptoms, he can decide on a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. The doctor may order these tests several times to look for affected tissue and determine how the disease is progressing.
Is There Treatment for Crohn’s Disease?
Despite major advances in treatment over the past three decades, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease . A variety of treatment options can decrease the severity and frequency of symptoms.
Medicines – More than four classes of drugs are used to treat Crohn’s disease. First-line treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs. The most advanced options include biological products, which use the body’s immune system to treat the disease.
Changes in food – Food does not cause Crohn’s disease, but it can trigger flare-ups. Once you have a definitive diagnosis, your doctor will likely suggest an appointment with a nutritionist. This professional will show you how foods affect and aggravate symptoms.
Surgery – If invasive treatments and lifestyle changes do not alter or improve symptoms, surgery may be necessary. During surgery, the doctor will remove damaged parts of the digestive tract and reconnect healthy sections.
Crohn’s Disease and Food
It is important to note that an eating plan that works for one person with Crohn’s disease may not work for another. This is because the disease can involve different areas of the gastrointestinal tract in different people.
You need to find out what works best for each case. Changes in diet and lifestyle can help reduce the recurrence of symptoms and decrease the severity.
For those who have Crohn’s disease it is indicated:
Adjust fiber intake – Some people need a high-fiber, high-protein diet. For others, the presence of food residues rich in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, can worsen the gastrointestinal tract. If this is the case, you may need to switch to a low fiber diet.
Limit fat intake – Crohn’s disease can interfere with the body’s ability to break down and absorb fat. This excess fat will pass from the small intestine to the colon, which can lead to diarrhea.
Limit your milk intake – You may not have lactose intolerance, but your body may respond in a similar way when Crohn’s disease exists. Consuming dairy products can lead to stomach upset, abdominal cramps and diarrhea for some people.
Drinking water – Crohn’s disease can affect the body’s ability to “recycle” water from the digestive tract. This can lead to dehydration. The risk of dehydration is especially high if you have constant diarrhea.
Using alternative sources of vitamins and minerals – Crohn’s disease can affect the gut’s ability to properly absorb nutrients. Consuming nutrient-rich foods may not be enough. Perhaps the use of multivitamins is indicated. Talking to the doctor is important for him to prescribe the ones that are suitable for each case.
Is There Any Natural Treatment For Crohn’s Disease?
Many people use complementary and alternative medicine for various diseases, including Crohn’s disease. Popular alternative treatments for Crohn’s disease include:
- Probiotics – These are live bacteria that can help replace and rebuild the good bacteria in your body.
- Antibiotics – These are beneficial bacteria found in plants, such as asparagus, artichokes and leeks.
- Fish oil – It is rich in omega-3 and has shown some promising results as a possible treatment for people with Crohn’s disease.
- Some herbs, vitamins and minerals – They can cure or alleviate the symptoms of a variety of illnesses, including Crohn’s disease.
- Acupuncture – is an alternative treatment for many conditions. This can help relieve stress, which has been shown to alleviate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease and the severity of them.
- Aloe vera – It has anti-inflammatory properties. Because inflammation is one of the main components of Crohn’s disease, people often use it as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Crohn’s disease can impair work and personal life. So don’t wait to get medical help. Observe the signals that the body gives.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.