Crohn’s disease is an auto immune disease and a type of inflammatory bowel disease that may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus.
Common Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
- Abdominal Pain – The intestines become inflamed and irritated. Ulcers may form in the large and small intestines. Severe abdominal pain may lead to vomiting which may be a sign of small bowel obstruction.
- Cramping – Scar tissue can form around the intestines. When you eat, your intestines shift, causing the scar tissue to pull which causes pain. Affected people may feel nauseated and even vomit due to the pain. Bloating and flatulence (passing of gas) can also be symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
- Diarrhea – Crohn’s disease causes loose stools as well as increased frequency of bowel movements.
- Bloody Stools – The inflammation in the bowels cause ulcers which can bleed leading to bloody stools.
- Weight Loss – Crohn’s can cause nutrient malabsorption. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease can also cause patients to lose the desire to eat.
- Arthritis – Crohn’s can cause arthritis in your joints
- Eye Pain – Inflammation can cause swelling, pain and vision loss. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
- Skin Issues – There are 2 types to look for:
- Erythema nodosum – painful red bumps under the skin.
- Pyoderma gangrenosum – large painful sores (ulcers) usually on the legs.
Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. There are several treatments available. Treatment usually involves medications and diet. The goal here is to limit the inflammation that triggers you symptoms. Your provider may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors, antibiotics, fiber supplements, pain relievers, iron supplements, Vitamin B-12 shots, calcium and vitamin D supplements.
In some cases, surgery is the best option. The surgeon will remove the damaged portion of your digestive tract.
Your provider may recommend a low residue or low-fiber diet to reduce the chance of intestinal blockage.
Prognosis of Crohn’s Disease
The prognosis for Crohn’s disease is different for every individual. The prognosis changes over time and how one responds to the medication and diet. Also another variable to consider is the frequency of flare-ups and the length of the flare-ups. Physicians concentrate on fewer flare-ups of the intestines as well as healing of the intestines which can be seen during an endoscopy.
Regular visits with their gastroenterologist to monitor their Crohn’s disease is essential. These visits will help prevent flare-ups and complications.