Crohn's Disease

Crohn’s disease, which is also called Illeitis, Regional enteritis, or Granulomatous ileocolitis, is an inflammatory bowel disease. This disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that effects your intestines, but can also occur in your mouth or your rectum. The cause for Crohn’s disease isn’t known, but there are signs and symptoms that will give physicians a reason to test you for this and similar inflammatory bowel diseases. There is no cure but it can be treated in a variety of ways in order to lessen some of the symptoms and side effects.

Causes and Risk Factors

There is no known cause of Crohn’s disease, though it is known to be an autoimmune disorder which occurs when your immune system attacks your healthy body tissue. While there is no exact cause, there are some risk factors including environmental factors, genetic material, and a body that tends to overreact to normal bacteria located in the intestines. It can happen to someone of any age though it is more common with teens and young adults between 15 and 25. If you have a family member with Crohn’s disease, are Jewish or smoke regularly, you are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

A wide variety of symptoms exist for Crohn’s disease ranging from primary symptoms and secondary which can be associated with many different conditions. The primary symptoms for Crohn’s disease are fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and cramping, pain during bowel movements, watery diarrhea on a regular basis, and unexplained weight loss. Additional signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include constipation, eye inflammation, joint pain and swelling, mouth ulcers, fistulas, bloody stools and rectal bleeding, ulcers, and swollen gums.

Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease

TO diagnose Crohn’s disease, your doctor will first perform a physical examination to look for swollen joints, mouth ulcers, tenderness or mass in your abdomen, and a skin rash. Additional tests used to diagnose the disease include an upper GI series, barium enema, colposcopy, CT scan, endoscopy, enteroscopy, stool culture, sigmoidoscopy, or an MRI of the abdomen. Other tests are affected by people with Crohn’s disease include a C-reactive protein, albumin, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, hemoglobin, liver function tests and fecal fat tests.

Treating Crohn’s Disease

There is no cure for Crohn’s disease but several treatment options are available. This includes changing your diet such as eating small meals throughout the day, drinking a lot of water, avoiding high-fiber foods, fatty and greasy foods and most sauces, limiting the amount of dairy you eat or drink, and avoiding gas-inducing foods like beans. You may also need additional vitamins such as an iron supplement, vitamin B12, vitamin D and calcium. You will need to work hard to reduce your stress and get regular exercise. Possible surgeries include a small bowel resection, large bowel resection, total abdominal colectomy, or a lleostomy.

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