It is a long-term condition in which parts of your digestive system develop inflammation. One type of Crohn’s disease is known as INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (IBD).
What causes Crohn’s disease? (1)
No evidence is available that what causes Crohn’s disease. Certain factors are determined that are more likely to increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease.
It is thought that bacteria that are present in the healthy gut may cause the immune system to attack healthy cells in our body. And in a result, this condition is developed.
This condition run in families and the risk is greater if you are living with a family member suffering from IBD then you are at high risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Genetic factors such as mutation can also develop Crohns disease.
If you are a smoker, it doubles the risk of developing Crohn’s disease.
Types of crowns disease:
Different parts of the digestive tract get affected by Crohn’s disease. Different types of Crohn’s disease are:
The small intestine and large intestine get affected with inflammation in this type and it is the most common type of Crohn’s disease.
In this type of Crohn’s disease, the small intestine gets inflamed.
The Duodenum or ends of the small intestine develop inflammation. Inflammation irritates the stomach.
Upper half of intestine gets patchy inflammation in this type of Crohn’s disease. Upper half of small intestine is also known as jejunum.
What are the sign and symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease develop slowly. Symptoms get worst with time. Symptoms can occur suddenly in very rare cases. Early signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Loss of weight
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal cramps
- Blood can be seen in the stool
- Even after the bowel movement, you feel your bowel is not empty
- You need frequent urge to urinate.
- Feeling of fullness
- Abnormal skin tags
- Anal fissures
- Rectal bleeding
These symptoms can be confused with other medical conditions including:
- Food poisoning
- Upset in stomach
- Any type of allergy
You should visit your doctor if these symptoms persist for a longer time. Symptoms can get worst when the disease progresses. Severe signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Pain is felt around the anus and it is known as perianal fistula
- The ulcer can develop at any par from mouth to the anus
- Inflammation can occur at joints or skin
- Shortness of breath
- Ability to do exercise is decreased due to anemia
When Crohn’s disease is diagnosed at early stage, it can prevent you from many other complications. Early treatment can manage this disease to greater extent.
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
Patients of Crohn’s disease usually visit their doctor when they have severe diarrhoea and weight loss. If you child is suffering any of the above mentioned sign and symptoms you should immediately visit your paediatrician. To diagnose your condition, following tests are recommended by your doctor.
- Blood test:
Blood test is recommended by your doctor to check the number of white blood counts. If white blood cells are found in higher quantity it indicated the severe inflammation or any infection. Low blood count or anemia is also checked if present. Out of three one patient is found anemic in case of Crohn’s disease.
- Stool test:
Stool sample is taken that will checked for any type of bacteria or parasite if present. With the help of stool test, cause can be identified that develops Crohn’s disease.
Your doctor performs colonoscopy to examine entire colon with the help of endoscope. Light and camera is attached with the endoscope so colon can be checked easily. Sometimes doctor may take a sample of your inflamed colon to check for infections. This procedure is known as biopsy.
- Computed tomography CT scan:
Your doctor recommends CT scan so different images can be taken of your digestive tract. With the help of clear images your health care provider can rule out the severity of your digestive tract so medications can be prescribed accordingly.
- Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy (GI):
A thin and long tube called endoscope is inserted by your doctor from mouth or throat. Cameras attached with the endoscope will help to see your doctor the inside inflammation of present. While the procedure is performed, your doctor can also take tissue sample to diagnose.
- Upper gastrointestinal exam (GI):
With the help of X-ray performed for upper gastrointestinal your doctor can see the movement of swallowed barium liquid via the digestive tract.
What is the treatment of Crohn’s disease? (2)
No cure is available for Crohn’s disease but medications available can manage the symptoms and severity of this condition. Various medications are available that help to reduce the severity of the condition.
Numbers of medications are available to treat Crohn’s disease. Most commonly anti-diarrheal and anti-inflammatory medications are recommended. For the advanced treatment, biologics are recommended that will use your immune system to treat the condition.
Medications should be given in combination or not depends upon the severity and and history of your disease. It also depends upon your body’s response to certain medications.
Two main types of anti inflammatory medications are recommended that includes:
- Oral 5 aminosalicylates
It is the first line treatment that is usually recommended in every type of Crohn’s disease. Mild to moderate flare of symptoms can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Corticosteroids are given for severe type of symptoms only for shorter period.
These medications can help in reducing the inflammation and body’s response to immune system. These drugs usually affect immune system.
To reduce the symptoms and triggers of Crohn’s disease, a doctor usually recommends antibiotics to treat it. Antibiotics can reduce the drainage of fistula in case of Crohn’s disease.
If the condition of Crohn’s disease is severe, doctor will suggest biologics to cure the inflammation and complications of the condition. Specific proteins are blocked that trigger this inflammation with the help of biologics.