Crohn's Disease - Symptoms & Treatment
Crohn disease is a chronic (slowly developing, long-term) inflammation of the digestive tract. It is named after the physician who described the disease in 1932. The symptoms of Crohn's disease can vary between affected individuals. The affected areas become red and swollen and ulceration may occur. Crohn's disease can also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye. The disease is characterised by periods of activity and remissions. The main gastrointestinal symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea, which may be bloody, and weight loss. It can involve any area of the GI tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the small intestine and/or colon. It is also called granulomatous enteritis or colitis, regional enteritis, ileitis, or terminal ileitis. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are similar - so similar that they're often mistaken for one another. Both inflame the lining of your digestive tract, and both can cause severe bouts of watery or bloody diarrhea and abdominal pain.
The disease the deepest layers of the lining of the digestive tract, causing deep sores called ulcers. Men and women are equally affected. The immune system is composed of various cells and proteins. Normally, these protect the body from infection. In people with Crohn's disease, however, the immune system reacts inappropriately. Because the symptoms of Crohn's disease are similar to other intestinal disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, it can be difficult to diagnose. Inflammatory bowel disease most commonly begins during adolescence and early adulthood, but it also can begin during childhood and later in life. Although the cause of Crohn's disease is not known, it is widely believed to be an autoimmune disease. The condition occurs when the immune system contributes to damage of the gastrointestinal tract by causing inflammation. Ulcerative colitis, on the other hand, usually affects only the innermost lining of your large intestine and rectum. There's no known medical cure for Crohn's disease.
Causes of Crohn's disease
The common causes and risk factor's of Crohn's disease include the following:
- The exect cause of Crohn's disease is unknown.
- Crohn disease is may be caused by the immune system overreacting to infection by a virus or bacterium.
- Genetics factors.
- You're at higher risk if you have a close relative, such as a parent, sibling or child, with the disease.
- Environment, diet, blood vessel abnormalities, and even psychosocial factors can cause Crohn disease.
- Living in an urban area or in an industrialized country.
- Smokers have a higher risk of Crohn's disease.
- Oral contraceptives have also shown an association with the development of Crohn's disease.
Symptoms of Crohn's disease
Some sign and symptoms related to Crohn's disease are as follows:
- Abdominal pain.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in your stool.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Abdominal fullness and gas.
- Clotting problems.
- General malaise.
- Liver inflammation.
- Joint pain.
Treatment of Crohn's disease
Here is list of the methods for treating Crohn's disease:
- Aspirinlike anti-inflammatory drugs ( mesalamine ) reduce the inflammation. These drugs are used to prevent flares in people with mild Crohn disease.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed for abscesses or fistulas.
- Cortisone drugs and steroids - called corticosteriods - provide very effective results. Prednisone is a common generic name of one of the drugs in this group of medications.
- Mild symptoms may respond to an antidiarrheal medication such as loperamide (Imodium A-D, for example), which slows or stops the painful spasms in your intestines that cause symptoms.
- Surgery is often used to manage complications of Crohn's disease, including fistulae, small bowel obstruction, colon cancer, small intestine cancer and fibrostenotic strictures, when strictureplasty is sometimes performed.