Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

Although Crohn’s disease isn’t as prevalent as ailments such as diabetes and asthma, it still afflicts more than 700,000 people. If you’re a young adult between the ages of 15 to 30, there’s an even greater chance of you experiencing Crohn’s disease.

Unfortunately, scientists have yet to find a cure for this condition. If medication and diet changes fail to reduce the inflammation, gastrointestinal surgery is usually the next approach. Roughly 70 percent of the people suffering from Crohn’s disease will eventually need surgery.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease shares many similarities with colitis, which is also a serious inflammatory bowel disease. While colitis is typically limited to the colon, Crohn’s disease can affect different areas of the digestive tract. Despite the fact that Crohn’s disease often occurs in the colon and the small intestine, it can also impact your mouth and anus.

The severity of Crohn’s disease can vary from one person to the next. When left untreated, Crohn’s disease can put your life at risk. Although Crohn’s disease can go into remission for years, the symptoms can reoccur at any given time.

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

While a great deal of research has been done on Crohn’s disease, experts still haven’t pinpointed a definite cause. However, certain factors can contribute to the illness.

Hereditary

Studies have found that Crohn’s disease tends to run in families. It can be passed down from one generation to the next. Although Crohn’s disease tends to occur more in people of European descent, it’s recently become more prevalent among African Americans and Hispanics.

Bacteria

The immune system is designed to rid your digestive system of toxic bacteria and viruses. However, some types of bacteria actually help you to digest food.

When suffering from Crohn’s disease, it’s believed that the immune system mistakenly attacks the good bacteria. This eventually causes chronic inflammation and thickening of the intestinal wall. On the other hand, a study in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology indicates a specific type of bacteria triggers Crohn’s disease.

Cigarette Smoking

Like so many other health ailments, Crohn’s disease has been linked to cigarette smoking. People who continue to smoke after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease are more likely to experience flare-ups. Furthermore, smoking can decrease the effectiveness of medication. This is why doctors urge individuals with Crohn’s disease to strive for a smoke-free lifestyle.

Environment

The environment may influence the occurrence of Crohn’s disease. According to some researchers, people living in big cities are more likely to have Crohn’s disease. This is likely because of the higher amounts of environmental pollution in the area. The impurities may have a bad interaction with your genes.

What Are the Symptoms?

Frequent Diarrhea

This is among the first symptoms you’ll experience. As time goes on, you can expect the diarrhea to become more serve. It’s not uncommon for individuals suffering from Crohn’s disease to make multiple trips to the restroom. Although a stomach virus can cause similar symptoms, Crohn’s disease will cause persistent diarrhea that lasts more than a few days.

Abdominal Pain

There’s no overlooking the pain associated with Crohn’s disease. When there’s a lot of inflammation in the gut, you’ll likely feel cramping at your lower abdomen. Because the pain can be so intense at times, some people will be forced to visit the emergency room.

Rectal Bleeding

Understandably, rectal bleeding can cause a great deal of panic. The root cause of the bleeding is likely an ulcer. To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Fatigue

Crohn’s disease will cause a person to experience extreme fatigue. Normal everyday tasks, such as walking from one place to the next, may become tiring. Don’t be surprised to experience a shortness of breath. Exercising may prove to be especially draining.

Reduced Appetite

This disease can ruin your appetite. Because you won’t be eating regularly, weight loss is a likely outcome. To function at its best, your body needs to be fed a certain number of calories per day.

Vomiting

If you experience persistent vomiting along with the other symptoms, this is a definite red flag. The vomiting indicates that you need to seek treatment immediately.

Fever

Crohn’s disease can surely cause a fever. Unlike the flu, this illness will spawn a fever that lasts for days at a time.

How is It Diagnosed?

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease is not a simple process. Of course, the first step is to get examined by a doctor. The physician will need to rule out any other underlying health conditions. Afterwards, a blood test will be taken to check for antibodies.

Here are some of the most common laboratory tests used to help diagnose Crohn’s disease.

Colonoscopy

A colonoscopy involves inserting a flexible tube into the opening of the anus. A tiny camera allows the doctor to obtain a complete view of your entire colon. Abnormal groupings of cells will likely indicate the presence of Crohn’s disease. During the colonoscopy, your doctor may also collect tissue samples.

Upper Gastrointestinal (UGI)

Upper gastrointestinal imaging enables physicians to obtain a better view of the small intestine. You may be required to drink a special solution, which helps highlight the various digestive tissues.

Computerized Tomography (CT)

A computerized tomography is used to provide a more thorough view of the bowel. It’s generally a lot more detailed than a standard X-ray.

649