Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes irritation and swelling in your digestive tract. The digestive tract consists of a series of organs beginning from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease usually affects a large part of the small intestines and the beginning of the large intestine. However, it can manifest in any part of the digestive tract, which sets it apart from other forms of inflammatory bowel diseases. Crohn’s disease is chronic, which means the symptoms can keep coming and going, affecting you over a long period of time. The symptoms may also strike without warning and they include frequent bouts of diarrhea, blood in your stool, feeling like you need to go to the bathroom but you can’t, intense cramps with nausea and vomiting, and an ongoing fever or weight loss that you cannot explain. Consult Dr. Kalpana Desai if you have IBD symptoms that match Crohn’s disease. Other symptoms that may appear outside your digestive tract include arthritis-like stiffness in your joints, swelling in your eyes and under the skin, painful mouth ulcers and small tears in the anus.
Causes and Diagnosis
Crohn’s disease usually runs in families. It affects both men and women, and someone of any age. Apart from family history, scientists are still not sure why people get the disease. Qualities that might exacerbate and increase your chances of contracting Crohn’s disease include smoking, medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), living in an industrial or urban area, and a faulty immune system. Some scientists also postulate that a super clean and germ-free childhood could make you more susceptible to get the disease later on in life.
The only way for your doctor to diagnose the disease is by ruling out other symptoms first. This is due to the fact that Crohn’s disease has no test. The doctor might give you a colonoscopy, where he or she will use a light tube to look inside your colon. An MRI and a CT scan can also be used.
To treat the disorder, the doctor will prescribe a mix of medications and lifestyle changes. The first he’ll want to do is control the swelling. This will ease your symptoms and help your intestines heal. Medication can also help cut down on flare-ups. A majority of patients will, however, require surgery at some point in their lives. Surgery will not cure the disease but it can help remove the diseased part of the digestive tract and save the healthy areas.
Staying in treatment can help keep your symptoms under control and prevent any risk of cancer because Crohn’s disease has been linked with colon cancer. You can also take part in regular screenings and get tested as often as possible. Getting tested may not lower the risks of contracting the disease, but it will definitely help catch it in its early stages and improve your chances of recovery.
You can also try alternative and complementary forms of treatment to help ease the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. These treatments include massage and reflexology, chiropractic treatment, mind-body practices such as yoga, hypnosis and tai chi, energy medicine such as Reiki or qi gong, which are healing methods that use touch, supplements, probiotics, and vitamins. Before attempting any alternative treatment, ask your doctor first if it’s safe and if it will work. Ensure the treatment is right for you.