Crohn’s Disease Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Crohn’s disease is a digestive disorder that cause inflammation on the lining of the intestines. It’s a form of inflammatory bowel disease. The inflammation causes a range of symptoms including severe diarrhea, abdominal pains, weight loss and even malnutrition.

The inflammation starts in the intestines and then spreads gradually into the deeper layers of the affected bowel tissues. The pain can be severe and debilitating. And sometimes, Crohn’s disease could lead to life-threatening complications.

Unfortunately, Crohn’s disease has no known cure. Most of the treatments for this condition are geared towards managing the pain and minimize flare-ups.

Crohn’s Disease Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease vary from mild to severe. Usually, the symptoms would developed gradually. But there are cases wherein the symptoms and signs come out sharply without warning. The symptoms include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, and abdominal pains. Most patients also report bloody stools, mouth sores, nausea, and rapid weight loss. There are also cases wherein Crohn’s disease cause perianal disease. This condition occurs when pain or a drainage near the anus become inflamed.

Causes of Crohn’s Disease

The exact cause of this condition remains unknown. But poor diet, stress, and heredity are factors that are linked to Crohn’s disease. A weakened or faulty immune system could also lead to Crohn’s disease. This occurs when an overactive immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. Viral or bacterial infections could also lead to Crohn’s disease.

Treatments for Crohn’s Disease

Treatments for Crohn’s disease range from medications, home remedies to surgery. The most common treatment for this condition is anti-inflammatory drugs. That’s because Crohn’s disease is mainly triggered by inflamed intestines. The medication will depend on the cause of the condition. After diagnosis, your doctor could recommend oral 5-aminosalicylates or corticosteroids.

If the disease is caused by a faulty immune system, you will be prescribed with drugs that suppress the immune system. These medications include Azathioprine (Imuran) and mercaptopurine (Purinethol) Infliximab (Remicade), adalimumab (Humira) and certolizumab pegol (Cimzia). You will also be given a variety of painkillers, antibiotics or supplements.

You have to improve your diet and lifestyle to prevent inflammation and pain. Start by limiting your consumption of dairy products. Go for low-fat, low-fiber foods and avoid spicy dishes and alcoholic beverages. Go for mild foods that are very easy to digest.

Also, stop smoking, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Practice breathing exercises and remove yourself from stressful situations.

If drug therapy, lifestyle changes, and other treatments did not work, you’ll have to go through surgery. The procedure will not eliminate the disease, but it will minimize frequent flare-ups. A surgeon will remove the damaged section of the intestines. Fistulas or abscesses could be drained as well.

Surgery will only bring temporary relief. Inflammation will come back eventually. At this point, you have to delay the inevitable. We recommend following up the surgery with prescribed medications. Find ways to eliminate stress and make sure to stay hydrated. Finally, talk to your doctor to determine the right methods to minimize the risk of recurrence.