Crohn's Disease Symptoms Can Make Your Life Miserable
It Strikes When You Least Expect It
You're walking through the mall when a sharp pain in your abdomen causes you to double over. One of your friend's places their hand across your forehead and mentions that you have a fever - maybe it's the flu. You rest a bit on one knee and assure everyone you're all right and then another unpleasant sensation ... diarreah. In your mind it's nothing more than a virus running rampant through your intestinal tract, but you might be experiencing the symptoms of Crohn's Disease.
The only way to know for sure is to go to the doctor and report your symptoms. This article will go over the symptoms and discuss your treatment options. If you are diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, know that you aren't alone. Millions of others suffer as you do. While I would like to tell you there's a cure there isn't, but through treament mostwho suffer from this disease can go onto lead a normal life.
What is Crohn's Disease?
Crohn's Disease is an inflammation of the intestines that can cause great discomfort and malnutrition, and it doesn't afflict everyone the same. In some people the inflamation partially or fully blocks the intestines, preventing or hindering the transit of waste produts out of the body. In others, painful ulcers form along the intestinal wall, and then there are rare cases where fistulas form, which are abnormal passageways between the small and large intestines or between the intestines and an organ - this is the form of Crohn's disease that can be the most life threatening.
While doctors know the symptoms, they as of yet are uncertain of the cause. Currently, the best guess is that it's caused by an abnormal immune response. Once the disease sets in, bacteria or food can cause the inflammation to flare up. The lining of the intestines have also been known to cause flare ups.
The only thing that seems to be nearly consistent is the fact that this condition typically manifests itself before the age of 30. There are a few cases where older people suddenly develop this disease, but these cases are extremely rare. In 20% of all cases it's inherited from a close relative, and Jewish people of European descent are more susceptible, for reasons that are yet to be understood.
Can Crohn's Disease be cured?
Unfortunately, no. There is a medical procedure by which they can cut out the diseased portion out of your intestine and reconnect the healthy ends, but this surgery isn't always a permanent fix - as the disease often recurs at the point where the intestine is rejoined. Of course, you could have the surgery performed each time it's necessary, providing several symptom free years at a time, but you will finally arrive at a point where you can't remove any more of the intestine or it will no longer be long enough to be able to properly absorb enough nutrients into the body, which leads to rapid weight loss and malnutrition.
More commonly, Crohn's Disease is treated with medications. Cipro and Flagyl are use for mild cases, and treatment moves onto steroids when there is no response. In moderate-severe cases, steroids are used to remove the symptoms and get the weight back up to normal, and then antibiotics are used to drain the infection - unless it's an abscess, in which case it is drained. Then, from there, methotrexate, imuran, or remicade is prescribed. Only when these methods all fail is surgery considered as an option. Even then, the patient is often first admitted to the hospital for a week of intrevenous corticosteroids, transfusions (in the case of anemia or severe blood loss), and an antiobiotic to treat the infection.If ths all fails, then surgery is the only option for treatment.
Once the patient's symptoms subside, a treatment of steroids is given followed by a combination of imuran and mercaptopurine. In the case of intestinal surgery, Pentasa is also used, to reduce the odds of the disease recurring. While the patient is cured for the moment there is no guarantee that the symptoms won't reappear, as Crohn's Disease is an aggressive disorder which defies permanent treatment.
To make matters worse, Crohn's Disease follows a pattern of symptoms followed by remission, which might lead some to believe the disease will just go away without any treatment. This simply isn't going to happen. Once present, the symptoms will last for days or weeks followed by a remission period of anwhere from several days to several years ... but it always returns.
Some of the things that can aggrevate this condition:
- internal infections
- some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin
I Was Told A Change Of Diet Might Help
It might help lessen the severity of the symptoms, but it won't make them go away. Typically, you want to avoid spicy or high-fiber foods and stick with soft, bland foods when you are experiencing symptoms. Typically, your doctor will recommend a diet to help subside some of the pain, but if they don't, ask for a dietary plan as it might help.
Moving Forward In Life
Now that you know the symptroms of Crohn's disease, you know what to keep an eye our for. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms frequently then schedule an appoinment to have your doctor look things over. Be certain to express your symptoms and your concerns, and if you should find that you have Crohn's Disease, know that it's very discomforting, but it's typically not life-threatening. Still, there's no need to suffer through the pain when treatment options are available. Life is difficult enough without having to survive through severe lapses of pain. So, the quicker you start the treatrment the sooner you will get back to feeling better.
Once you have the symptoms of Crohn's Disease under control you will find that your life will go back to normal, and you won't find yourself wondering when the next attack will occur. Like other incurable diseases, getting your life back is all about managing your symptoms.
May you have good luck and good health in the many years to come!!