IBD stands for inflammatory bowel disease, an umbrella term used to describe the chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. IBD has two common types: Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. This article will be focusing on Crohn’s Disease and its impact on your life.
What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from mouth to anus. Crohn’s can affect people of all ages and genders, although it tends to affect women more than men.
How Is Crohn’s Different From Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative colitis only affects the large intestine (colon), while Crohn’s can affect any part of the digestive system. Crohn’s usually begins in the lowest part of the small intestine called the ileum.
Frustrating as it may seem, there is no known cure for this condition, but treatments are available to help ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms.
Common Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
Symptoms typically include:
- Abdominal pain
- rectal bleeding
- Loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Weight loss
However, the severity varies from one person to another who has Crohn’s condition. Frustrating as it may seem, there is no known cure for this condition, but treatments are available to help ease the discomfort caused by the symptoms.
How Crohn’s Disease Can Affect Different Parts Of Your Body
The Mouth: If Crohn’s involves the mouth, it usually starts as swelling, sores, or ulcers on the lips or cheeks and is called oral Crohn’s.
The Stomach: Crohn’s can involve any part of the stomach, including the lining that produces acid and digestive enzymes to break down food. It can also affect other parts of the gastrointestinal tract after food is partially digested by the stomach.
The Small Intestine: Crohn’s commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine called the ileum. It joins with another section called the terminal ileum at the ileocecal valve. Crohn’s Disease can occur anywhere along this area but is most common in the last part where the small intestine joins with the large intestine.
The Colon: Crohn’s Disease rarely affects all parts of the colon at once. It usually begins by affecting only one spot in the large intestine called an isolated site. Crohn’s may affect any part of the large intestine, including all layers, but most commonly affects the tissue that lines it.
The Liver: Crohn’s Disease often affects the liver and bile ducts. It can cause jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), itchy skin, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, arthritis, anemia, and liver enlargement. Crohn’s also causes swelling of lymph nodes, increasing the chance for infections such as tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections.
Blood: Crohn’s usually does not affect blood vessels beyond the digestive system. However, it may affect the chances of a heart attack. It also causes inflammation, narrowing blood vessels, and increased risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Crohn’s Disease Treatments
Drugs like aminosalicylate, steroids, immune system suppressants, antibiotics, and biologics (medicines that contain active substances derived from living organisms) are available to help manage the condition. These drugs can be prescribed by your gastroenterologist or primary care provider.
Crohn’s Disease is permanent, but there are life changes that you can consider when dealing with this type of digestive disorder. Talk to your doctor about what these life changes may look like and suggestions on implementing them.
For some, it may be more tiring than usual so make sure to take enough rest. Eating healthy foods low in fat and calories can also help manage your weight, which lessens the stress on your digestive system. Avoiding smoking, drinking alcohol excessively, and quitting illegal drugs may prevent flares up caused by these substances.
When to Check With Your Doctor About Crohn’s Disease
Check with a gastroenterologist if you have any questions about Crohn’s Disease symptoms or treatment options available to you. With the proper diagnosis and guidance from a medical professional, you will be able to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilled life.
Gastro Florida Can Help With Crohn’s Disease
Do you need more information and care to help with a possible IBD type? Gastro Florida’s team of professionals is here to help. Set up an appointment with us today, servicing several areas throughout Florida.