Crohn’s Disease

crohn's disease

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Understanding Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a severe inflammation of the digestive system. There is no specific trigger to Crohn’s disease. Factors such as immune system malfunction, genetics, lifestyle, and stomach infections play a major triggering factor.

Who all are at risk?

  • Those who have a family history of inflammatory bowel disease (chronic inflammation of the digestive tract).
  • People who smoke
  • Those who live in urbanized or industrialized areas
  • People who are on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications

Causes

  • Immune system impairment

crohn's disease painThose who have Crohn’s disease have an immune system that reacts abnormally. After defeating the microbes, the inflammatory response just doesn’t seem to stop. This results in ulcers, etc.

  • Genetics

If a person has blood relatives who have a history of Crohn’s disease along with inflammatory bowel disease are slightly more likely to develop the disease themselves. About 10 to 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have at least one family member who has the disease. Scientists have discovered a gene linked to Crohn’s disease. This gene plays a major role in the body to help decide how to react to certain microbes. If the gene has undergone some alterations in some form, the body’s reaction to microbes will also get altered. People with Crohn’s disease have this gene in altered form occurring more frequently than normal people.

  • Tobacco smoking

Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, nicotine, and free radicals. These chemicals damage the lining of the gut and also cause harm to the good bacteria that live in the gut. They also influence genes and immune

  • The imbalance of gut bacteria 

Sometimes, inflammation can change the microbial balance. In some cases, due to certain infections, the patient might be on antibiotics. These antibiotics target both the infectious and beneficial bacteria. This alters the gut bacterial population and can act as a trigger for Crohn’s disease.

Prevalence of this condition

  • Men and women are affected equally.
  • 20% of the people with Crohn’s disease have a blood relative with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Crohn’s disease is prevalent more often between the ages of 15 – 35 years.
  • The higher prevalence of Crohn’s disease is observed in Caucasians and Ashkenazi Jews than other ethnicities.
  • Over 4 million people around the world are suffering from Crohn’s disease and it is increasing in leaps and bounds.

Myths about Crohn’s disease

  • Crohn’s disease and smoking are unrelated.
  • Crohn’s disease rarely affects children.
  • It is believed that anxiety and depression also trigger Crohn’s disease.
  • Bad eating habits cause Crohn’s disease.

Symptoms

crohn's diseaseDiarrhea

  • Fever
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Blood in the stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Pain or drainage near or around the anus due to inflamed skin (fistula)
  • Joint pains
  • Anemia
  • Abdominal cramps
  • A feel of incompleteness in your bowel movements
  • Frequent need for bowel movements

If an individual has severe Crohn’s disease, the following symptoms will be observed:

  • Inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • Delayed growth and puberty
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Persistent diarrhea that does not stop with the regular medications
  • Fever lasting for more than 2 days
  • Weight loss observed for a significant time period

 Complications of Crohn’s disease

  • crohn's disease intestine damageCrohn’s disease may make the wall of the intestines more dense or thick. In due course of time, these thickened intestinal areas can narrow down with can obstruct the flow of food or stools. This partial or complete blockage is called bowel blockage.
  • Crohn’s disease can pierce the inflammation into the walls of the intestines and create passages called fistulas.
  • The passage of the inflammation into the intestinal walls can also lead to the development of painful pus-filled pockets called abscesses.
  • It can also result in anal fissures (small tears around the anus resulting in bleeding, itching, and pain).
  • Crohn’s disease can lead to malnutrition. The inflammation can spread to other areas of the body. There will be the incidence of inflammation in your joints, eyes, and skin.
  • An individual infected with Crohn’s disease affecting the colon is more prone to colon cancer.

Crohn’s disease can also cause other problems such as:

  • Anemia
  • skin disorders (occurrence of red bumps on the skin, blisters and even ulcers)
  • osteoporosis (a condition where the bones become weak and breakable)
  • arthritis
  • gallbladder or liver disease.

Some of the medications recommended for treating Crohn’s disease act by blocking the immune system functioning. This approach can pose as a small risk for skin cancers, lymphoma and also increase the susceptibility for infection.

Diagnosis

A doctor will first perform a physical exam where the doctor checks for bloating in your abdomen, listens to the abdominal sounds using a stethoscope and taps on the abdominal areas for signs of tenderness and pain and also to check for an abnormal or an enlarged liver.

Then, the doctor might perform certain tests to diagnose Crohn’s disease.

  • Blood test – The health care professional will obtain a blood sample from the patient. The healthcare professional checks for the red blood cell count in case of anemia and also check for the white blood cell count for inflammation.
  • Stool tests – Stool samples are analyzed to check for other digestive diseases.
  • Intestinal endoscopy – To accurately diagnose Crohn’s disease, depending on the severity of the symptoms, the patient will have to undergo:
  • Capsule endoscopy (you will have to swallow a capsule containing a tiny camera that allows the doctor to see inside your digestive tract).
  • Scanning – The doctor might perform an X-ray scan, a fluoroscopy scan or use liquid barium to view the upper GI tract.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which involves an integration of magnetic field and radio waves for imaging the digestive tract.

Treatment

crohn's disease surgery

Drugs such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and immune-modifying drugs are prescribed. Pain killers, drugs that stop diarrhea and nutritional supplements (to address conditions of malnourishment) are also recommended by the doctor accordingly.If the patient does not respond to the above medications, then surgery is recommended to rectify the underlying complications. The following surgeries are usually performed:

  • Strictureplasty–This surgical method only involves widening of the narrow intestinal passage.
  • Resection – Removal of the intestines.
  • Proctocolectomy or Colectomy – Removal of the rectum along with a part of the colon or along with complete removal of the colon.

Crohn’s symptoms can reappear in approximately 30% of patients within 3 years and in up to 60% of patients within 10 years. Consult your doctor in order to manage the disease condition and also to minimize the severity.

Crohn’s disease: How to manage the symptoms?

  • You must avoid carbonated fizzy
  • Avoid popcorns, vegetable skins, nuts, and other high-fiber foods as they can result in bloating and stomach gas problems.
  • Drink more fluids.
  • Consume meals in small portions, but consume them frequently.
  • Maintain a record to monitor the foods you consume to track down a potential food trigger.

Usually, the doctor will recommend a diet with the following:

  • Calorie-rich (baked beans, cereal bars, eggs, fish, oatmeals, etc)
  • Free of lactose (such as dairy-free bread, jams, fruit juices, soy mil,k, potatoes, pasta, etc)
  • Low fiber content (white rice, white flour pancakes, white bread, etc.)
  • Low-fat content (kale, spinach, lettuce, etc)
  • Low salt content (such as salmon, tuna, dried beans, dried peas, etc.)

If your body does not absorb sufficient nutrients, the doctor might suggest nutritional supplements accordingly. Keep in mind to consume all the food sources in moderation. Crohn’s disease can be taken care of if proper management is done. Following the doctor’s instructions, making good lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and stress relieving activities help in lowering the severity.


TL;DR?

 

Facts

  • Crohn’s disease affects people of all ages and gender.
  • Diet does not cause Crohn’s disease.

Facts

  • This disease affects your gastrointestinal tract as well as other areas of your body.
  • People with Crohn’s disease eventually have surgery.

Facts

  • Many people are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease even before turning 30.
  • There is no cure for Crohn’s disease and it can last a lifetime.

Related Conditions

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Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Follow a good diet plan with low fiber, low lactose, and low fat.
  • Follow the doctor’s instructions on the use of medications or supplements.
  • Include a vitamin and mineral rich diet.
  • Drink water to combat the dehydration.
  • De-stress yourself
Don'ts
  • Consume carbonated drinks, spicy deep-fried
  • Resume alcoholic/smoking habits after surgery.
  • Get stressed and more paranoid after surgery.

 

 

 

 

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Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Surgery or home-remedy; what is the right way to treat a burn The treatment of a burn injury depends on its severity. You can save a life by offering the…
Coffee Enema: Turn your favorite morning beverage into a powerful colon cleanser The wonders of coffee are not just limited to waking you up every morning. You can now use…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
Balneotherapy jacuzzi
5 things you didn’t know about balneotherapy and how you can do it at home Sauna baths have been popular since a long time. But how much more beneficial can balneotherapy be as…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
Vitamin-D-blood-test
25-Hydroxy Vitamin D test 25-hydroxy Vitamin D test is a blood test used to measure the level of vitamin D in the…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
HSV-1_IGG
Herpes Simplex Virus I (HSV)-IgG Test Herpes simplex virus I(HSV)-IgG is an Immunoglobulin protein that acts as an antibody & stays in the blood…
Thyroid disorders
Thyroid Profile Thyroid profile is a panel of blood tests performed to check if an individual is suffering from any…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Squid-ink-spaghetti
Squid Ink: A unique food coloring and flavoring agent Want to add a unique black color to your pasta, noodles and ice-creams? How can you use squid…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
alcohol toxic
7 startling facts that will make you quit alcohol today Does drinking really make you friendly and happy? How many calories does a can of cold beer add…
lose weight fast
12 easy and instant steps to successful weight loss Do you want to lose weight without losing your mind? Does weight loss always mean saying goodbye to…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
improve digestion weight loss
Power up your gut: 8 proven steps on how to improve your digestion Did you know you have a colony of bacteria in your gut that help you in digesting food?…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
How seitan proved to be a blessing in disguise for vegans worldwide Can only meat-eaters enjoy delicious juicy steaks and burgers? With seitan, the best meat substitute available today,even vegans…
General adaptation syndrome: Understanding stress, one step at a time The struggle of the body to produce hormones during a stressful situation is the main theme of general…
Inversion Therapy: The anti-gravity way of healing chronic back pain Inversion therapy involves suspending a person upside dow using different types of equipment. This works by taking the…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
reflexology massage
Top reasons why you should go for a reflexology massage today Reflexology involves the application of pressure to your feet and hands to encourage self-healing. Could this be beneficial…
phenytoin test
Phenytoin test Phenytoin is a drug that is administered mainly to epilepsy patients. The phenytoin blood test measures the level…
Unbelievable health benefits of gooseberries (and a few tasty recipes) Gooseberries are antioxidant-rich tasty fruits that can be easily added in daily diet to improve overall health and…
piles fissure fistula
Allopathy vs homeopathy vs ayurveda treatment for piles, fissures, and fistula Read to know the best form of treatment among allopathy, homeopathy,or ayurveda for piles, fissures, and fistula
Optavia diet
The features of an Optavia diet The Optavia diet endorses pre-packaged meals and snacks called "fuelings" that are tasty, low in calorie, and incorporates…
sleep deprivation
Don’t let your sleep deficit grow into memory loss or heart attack Why is sleep important for us? How could sleep deprivation harm you? We bet you didn't know about…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…