Understanding Crohn’s Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors
Crohn’s disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease, named after a US gastroenterologist Burrill B Crohn. This is an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by thick patchy areas, due to inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, extending anywhere from the mouth to the anal passage.
This disease mainly involves the terminal part of the, of the small intestine or the proximal or starting part of the large intestine causing abdominal colic, loose stools, faulty absorption of nutrients, bloody stool and sometimes the formation of fistula, an abnormal tube-like passage between the intestine and other organs.
It is a type of inflammatory bowel disease mainly affecting people in the second or third decade of their lives.
The symptoms experienced are the following:
- Severe abdominal colic because of the inflammation of the guts. Pain worse at the right lower side of the abdomen.
- Blood in the stool because of ulcers in the raw areas of the gut.
- Oral thrush or oral ulcers
- Diarrhea containing mucus, pus, and blood.
- With an unending urge to pass more stool.
- A feeling as if one has not completely passed the stools is very persistent in this disease.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Some people experience a lack of appetite.
- Anemia due to blood loss.
- Anal fistula
- Bleeding from the rectum.
- Anal fissure with the painful passage of stool.
In some patients the following symptoms can also be observed:
- Inflammation of eyes or uveitis
- Skin rash and inflammation of the skin
- Stunted growth
- Delay in the growth of sexual organs in kids
- Inflammation of the common bile duct or sometimes liver inflammation.
The cause of the disease is not known, earlier it was assumed that the causative factors for Crohn’s disease were either diet or stress. However, it is later concluded that diet and stress aggravate the symptoms.
Some factors likely to cause this condition are:
- Family history
- Environmental factors
The following people are at higher risk:
- People who have close biological relatives having Crohn’s disease.
- People in their twenties and thirties are at higher risk of developing this disease.
- Smokers including passive smokers are at increased risk of having this disease.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs although, does not cause the disease but results in aggravation of symptoms.
- People who eat high refined fatty food are at greater risk.
- People living in urban areas are also at higher risk of developing this ailment.
- European Jews are more likely to suffer from this disease.
The compilations are:
- Obstruction in the bowel, causing difficulty in passage of digestive contents.
- Anal fissure
- Formation of ulcer anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract, anywhere from the mouth to the rectal opening.
- Cancer in the colon
- Diseases of the liver and the gall bladder
- Itchy skin
Lifestyle tips to prevent flaring of symptoms:
- Avoid smoking
- Eat healthy food and avoid food that aggravates the symptoms.
- Take medicines as advised by the doctor regularly.
- Reduce stress levels.
- Get yourself checked regularly.
- Meditate everyday
- Exercise regularly.
- Let your doctor know any flare of symptoms while you are on antibiotics.