What Do We Know About Crohn’s Disease

July 27, 2023

It’s a question asked by so many patients when they first receive their diagnosis: What is Crohn’s Disease? Put simply, Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. 

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease 

Recognizing Crohn’s is important as its symptoms can range from mild to severe and often develop slowly over time.

It is important to note that Crohn’s disease is an individualized condition, and though there are common symptoms like abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, fatigue, and weight loss. Personal symptoms can vary from person to person. 

The use of medical treatment, a healthy diet and lifestyle modifications can manage symptoms and improve your quality of life. 

Types of Crohn’s Disease and Different Treatments

There are multiple types of Crohn’s disease, another complication to the daunting condition. Each type has its own unique set of symptoms and complications. 

  1. Ileocolitis – affects the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine.
  2. Ileitis – affects only the small intestine.
  3. Gastroduodenal Crohn’s Disease – affects the stomach and the beginning of the small intestine, called the duodenum.
  4. Jejunoileitis – This type is characterized by patchy areas of inflammation in the upper half of the small intestine.
  5. Crohn’s Colitis – This type affects only the large intestine.

Medical Treatments, Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Manage Crohn’s 

One of the first main treatments is medicine. Anti-inflammatory drugs like: 

  • corticosteroids
  • immunomodulators
  • antibiotics 

While there is currently no known cure for Crohn’s disease, early diagnosis and treatment lead to better outcomes and can improve the quality of life of individuals living with the disease.

As we mentioned, there is no cure for Crohn’s, so this means you may have to make some changes to your diet and lifestyle to manage its symptoms effectively, and assist the medicine as well. A diet that is low in fiber and fat, meaning someone avoids fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as fatty meats and dairy products. Instead, opt for low-fiber, easily digestible foods like white bread, lean protein, and cooked vegetables. 

Once the diet is under control, you should avoid smoking, exercise regularly, and manage stress.  These can all exacerbate Crohn’s disease symptoms. These right changes to your diet and lifestyle can help you achieve better control over this chronic condition and improve your overall quality of life.

Understanding the Mental and Emotional Effects of Crohn’s Disease

By better understanding, the effects of stress on Crohn’s Disease, patients and healthcare providers can work together to develop effective coping strategies and minimize the impact of this chronic condition. Studies suggest that high levels of stress can trigger flare-ups of Crohn’s Disease, leading to more severe symptoms and poorer long-term outcomes. 

Many individuals with Crohn’s disease experience sadness, frustration, anxiety, and depression. These emotional responses can be triggered by the pain and discomfort associated with the disease, the social stigma, and/or the limitations it places on their daily routines. 

There are many coping strategies individuals utilize to navigate emotional responses, like mindfulness-based practices, leaning on the support from loved ones, or joining support groups. By taking care of their mental health, individuals with Crohn’s disease can improve their quality of life and find greater peace and stability in their journey with the disease. It is important to acknowledge emotions as they can have a significant impact on both physical and mental well-being. 

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases are so embarrassing and we want to make sure that you are healthy and happy. We encourage you to engage your healthcare provider as soon as possible or set up an appointment with Gastro Florida for further questions or concerns.