What is Crohns Disease?

Many people want to know...what is Crohns Disease?

It is one of the inflammatory bowel diseases (the others include ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel syndrome). It is a chronic disease for which there is no cure at present.

Crohns usually occurs in the small intestine, but is not limited to that area. It can occur anywhere in the digestive tract. It is not contagious, but it is estimated that over 500,000 people have the condition.

With Crohn's Disease, teen or child or adult, it doesn't matter, they all go through many highs and lows depending on whether they are having a flare up or are in remission. The flare-ups, too, can have different severities. From minor to a full blown flare-up.

What is Crohn's Disease....what are the symptoms?

Crohns Disease symptoms include stomach pain (usually in the lower right area), diarrhea and weight loss, fever, rectal bleeding, fatigue and anemia, arthritis, and skin problems. The number of symptoms and the intensity of the symptoms varies from patient to patient.

No one knows the cause of Crohn's Disease. It does seem to have a genetic link. Many times, a person with Crohns has relatives who have the disease. There are also current theories that describe it as a reaction of the immune system to a virus or bacteria in the intestines.

Also, what the patient eats doesn’t cause Crohns Disease, but like stress, it can affect how the patient feels. If you've been newly diagnosed, keep a journal to see if you can figure out what foods cause you the most problems.

It is also important to note that Crohns Disease is not caused by stress. But stress does affect the symptoms of the disease and the disease, in turn, causes the patient a lot of anxiety. Learning ways to reduce stress will help a person deal with this disease.

What is Crohns Disease...what are the complications & affected areas?

* Inflammation - The condition can cause the intestines and other areas of the digestive tract to become inflamed. Prescription medications of varying strengths as well as natural treatments such as fish oil can be used to fight inflammation.

* Obstructions - The small intestines can become so inflamed that obstructions occur. That is dangerous because it could cause the intestines to rupture and that can kill you. So, many times surgery is required to remove the obstruction by taking out part of the small intestine (this is what happened to me back in 1985). This surgery does not eliminate the disease. It is not uncommon for people with Crohns Disease to have more than one operation.

* Abdominal Pain - Even without an obstruction, patients experience pain usually in the lower right side.

* Diarrhea - One of the main symptoms of Crohn's Disease. It causes a loss of nutrients.

* Ulcers form in parts of the intestines and some of these ulcers can form a tunnel that joins one part of the intestines to another part and can even joins the intestines to an organ or the skin.

* Fistulas - A tunnel like formation that joins two loops of the intestines and/or a loop of the intestine and an organ of the body. Two drugs used in the treatment of fistulas are Imuran and Remicade Definition and more...

* Abscesses - Pus filled pockets filled with bacteria. Definition and more...

* Anemia - May be due to loss of blood due to bleeding in the intestines and/or rectum. Also, lack of absorption of nutrients in digestion due to inflammation of the small intestines where absorption occurs. Definition and more...

* Colon Cancer - People with Crohn's Disease have a greater chance of getting Colon Cancer. For a lot more information on Colon Cancer, click here.

* Weight Loss - due to lack of appetite. This is not uncommon for people with Crohns Disease. Are you overweight or underweight? Click here to calculate your body mass.

* Arthritis - It's not uncommon for someone with Crohns Disease to develop Arthritis. Some relief is given by the anti-inflammatory drugs a person takes for Crohn's. Drugs like Remicade and Humira.

What is Crohns Disease...prescription drugs used to treat symptoms:

Entocort - Brand name for Budesonide. It is a synthetic steroid and has potent anti-inflammatory actions.

Asacol - Brand name for mesalamine which is an anti-inflammatory agent. Believed to be the active agent in sulfasalazine. Less side effects than sulfasalazine.

Pentasa - Brand name for mesalamine which is an anti-inflammatory agent. Believed to be the active agent in sulfasalazine. Less side effects than sulfasalazine.

Sulfasalazine - anti-inflammatory agent for treating inflammation. Some people have trouble tolerating this drug.

Prednisone - Prednisone is a synthetic steroid used for suppressing the immune system and inflammation.

Imuran - Brand name for azathioprine which is an immunosuppressant and helps with arthritis and inflammation.

Remicade - Brand name for infliximab which is used to reduce inflammation. It is used for arthritis and moderate to severe Crohn's Disease. It also helps to heal Fistulas.

Humira - Some people cannot tolerate Remicade. And some people find that Remicade stops working for them. In both cases, many Crohn's patients find that taking Humira can make a difference for them. Like Remicade, Humira helps reduce inflammation and helps to heal Fistulas.

Flagyl - Brand name for metronidazole which is an antibiotic used to treat abscesses, inflammation, severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.

If you would like to read what people with Crohns Disease are saying amongst themselves about some of the above medications (within Crohn's forums), click here.

For the Newly Diagnosed Patient (and even if you've had the disease awhile):

What is Crohns Disease like in the beginning? What if I told you there was an award-winning writer who specialized in medical writing, whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, Style Magazine, Digestive Health & Nutrition Magazine, as well as other newspapers and magazines, who has had Crohns Disease herself for over a decade, and who is the vice president of the Michigan chapter of the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America and is the community leader for the Crohn's Disease message board on iVillage.com.

This author has written a book titled The First Year - Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Considering all of the above, do you think that this would be a book you'd want to read?

How about if the subjects she writes about include the following:

§ Strategies for accomplishing necessary lifestyle changes

§ Guidelines and tips for modifying your diet

§ Surgical options and tips for coping with surgery and hospital stays

§ Choosing the right medical team

§ Discussing your condition with family, friends, and co-workers

§ Current medical research and medications

§ The special needs of children

§ Effective alternative therapies

§ Support group resources

This is an excellent book. I highly recommend it.
learn more about this great book here.

Want still more detailed information about what is Crohns Disease? Willing to spend more time investigating this disease?

There's a book that goes into a lot more detail about Crohns Disease. The name of the book is, "The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Crohn's Disease."

click here to find out more about this book.

much more than what is Crohns Disease on our home page

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