Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel chronic disease causes the lining of parts of our digestive system. This may also cause the irritation in stomach, mouth and small and large intestines. As a result, the patient may feel severe abdominal pain, fatigue and diarrhea. Weight loss is also common in the patients of Crohn’s disease. Depending upon the severity of the case, several parts of the digestive system may be affected by this disease. Some patients may also get ulcer, as a result of Crohn’s disease’s aftermath.
Crohn’s Disease Causes
There are several theories about the causes of Crohn’s disease, although nothing has been proven yet. However, doctors keep researching and studying the possible causes of Crohn’s disease. Doing so is also very helpful in controlling the symptoms and know more about the risk factors involved. According to the scientists and researchers, Crohn’s disease is caused by a combination of genetic factors, environmental factors and immune system problems.
In an ordinary scenario, our cells in the immune system defend our body from bacteria and infections. However, all the microbes are not harmful but some may even be helpful, especially when it comes to digestion. Hence our immune system leaves such microbes alone. Inflammation is caused by the immune system to overcome the effect of offending substance. When that substance has been taken out of our system, the inflammation stops.
The case with Crohn’s Disease is that the immune system starts to malfunction. It is thought that the immune system might be blocking the helpful microbes by mistake. Another notion is that the inflammatory reaction does not stop. Whatever the case might be, this continuous inflammation in the digestive system might prove to be fatal. The patients may get ulcers or even intestinal injuries as a result.
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
It is natural to have constipation and stomach cramps once in a blue moon. However, if you are getting these in severe form and too often, there is a chance that you might have Crohn’s disease. More than 700,000 people in the United States alone are affected by Crohn’s Disease. Though there is no cure for it, there are treatments and remedies in place to help the patients control the symptoms.
The symptoms may vary, depending upon the severity of the disease. This includes belly pain and cramps, too much fatigue, fever, lack of hunger and diarrhea. There are more symptoms and you might not have them all but Crohn’s disease may cause intense complications. Doctors classify these complications into two categories: local and systematic. Local complications involve only the intestinal tract but the systemic ones may affect your whole body.
Doctors declare cigarette smoking to be a great cause of Crohn’s disease. It is also the most prominent controllable risk factor leading to Crohn’s Disease.
Crohn’s Disease Treatment
There are several remedies and treatments that the doctors recommend to control the Crohn’s disease at an early stage. If the patient has mild to moderate Crohn’s, prescribing antibiotics might be the first priority of the doctors. In most cases, the patients have to keep taking the antibiotics even after getting better. According to researchers, the antibiotics might help decrease the level of inflammation in two ways. First, they might help with inflammation by decreasing the bacteria levels or by curbing the intestine’s immune system.
Most commonly prescribed antibiotics by the doctor in Crohn’s disease are Abscesses, Fistulas Ciprofloxacin and Metronidazole. Depending on the doctor’s discretion, some patients might need to take the antibiotics through a vein (IV). Please do not start taking these antibiotics on your own as they may cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, headaches and fatigue.
It is due to the inflammations in the intestine that causes belly pain and diarrhea. Doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the inflammations and even control them for years. True, that these drugs are not a full cure but are of great use in giving relief to the patient.
Use of steroids to treat the Crohn’s disease is also common. They work mostly when the condition of the patient is mild to moderate. Also known as corticosteroids, they are used to cutting off the inflammation all over the patient’s body. They are also the doctor’s number one choice during the flare-ups. Budesonide and Prednisone are the most commonly prescribed and also the most effective drugs for Crohn’s disease.
Immune System Drugs
If the other medicines do not work, the doctors may prescribe drugs targeting the immune system. These are especially very helpful in preventing the flare-ups. Depending upon the severity of the disease, the doctors may recommend immunomodulators e.g. Mercaptopurine, Methotrexate or any other. However, they may take several months before showing the good signs. During that period, you may take the steroids for instant relief, with the recommendation of your doctor.
Surgery is usually the last resort of the doctors, when nothing seems to be working. It might be the case where drugs show too much side effects and doctors may opt surgery. There are a few types of surgeries that are done including:
Strictureplasty: This is a type of surgery where the doctors broaden the narrow area of the small intestine. This is done in order to restore the natural position of that part, before the disease.
Resection: Resection is the type of surgery in which the doctors have to remove a part of the intestine. Depending upon the cases where the stricture is very long or several strictures are near to each other, doctors may choose to do resection. Doctors also sew together the remaining bowel sections that are healthy and this is called anastomosis.
Colectomy: Colectomy is where the doctors have to remove the entire colon. This is usually performed when the drugs and medicines are not working and the disease starts to get extensive enough. If the rectum is in good condition, the surgeons may be able to connect it to the small intestine. However, that is not a likely case.