Chron’s disease causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract and could affect any area from the anus to the mouth.
Chron’s disease mainly affects the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine and becomes worse over time. In addition, Chron’s disease is classified as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and causes the lining of the digestive tract to become inflamed. Chron’s disease can be both disabling and painful. Sometimes Chron’s disease can lead to life threatening conditions. Experts believe that the cause of Chron’s disease may include an autoimmune response, genetics, smoking, and a high fat diet.
Chron’s disease is characterized by fever, fatigue, diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain, stool containing blood, weight loss, reduced appetite, anemia, joint pain or soreness, eye redness or pain, and perianal disease.
It is thought that Crohn’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Experts have found a number of genes which can increase the risk of Crohn’s disease, but not everybody with the relevant genes will go on to develop the condition.
Many people with Crohn’s disease have an increased amount of certain bacteria within the gut, and it is thought that certain gene variations can disrupt the body’s ability to respond normally to this bacteria. The result is chronic inflammation of the intestine, which leads to symptoms of Crohn’s disease.
Certain lifestyle factors may also be involved in the cause of Crohn’s disease. It is known that people who smoke are at an increased risk of the condition. Stress and poor diet are also strongly linked with Crohn’s.
Treatment may involve bowel rest, surgery, and medicines such as aminosalicylates, corticosteroids, immunomodulators, and biological therapies.
One type of surgery is called a subtotal colectomy that involves removing part of the large intestine which may be necessary if the patient has a fistula or an intestinal obstruction.
Anal fissures caused by Chron’s disease can be treated with ointments, changes in diet, and warm baths. Chron’s disease can also lead to malnutrition which is generally treated with feeding tubes or IV fluids to replace lost nutrients and fluids.
Since the cause of Crohn’s disease appears to be genetic, scientists cannot recommend a definitive way to prevent it. However, it may be possible to prevent flareups or reduce the severity of symptoms by adjusting some lifestyle factors.
First of all, those who smoke should quit as this could exacerbate symptoms. Secondly, diet can play a huge role in the severity of symptoms. There is no single diet plan that will work for everybody with Crohn’s disease, because different people with the condition usually find that different foods cause their flareups.
Keeping a food diary where you note down everything you eat alongside symptoms might help you to pinpoint foods which seem to worsen the condition. You can then try to avoid these foods in future and formulate your own unique, balanced diet plan to help you manage the condition.
If stress appears to be a trigger of Crohn’s, make a concerted effort to avoid it where possible. Regular exercise may help to reduce stress. It might also be beneficial to look at your day to day routine and plan regular times to rest and relax. Doing so might help you to prevent flareups of Crohn’s disease which would only cause disruption to your daily routine anyway.