Crohn’s disease is a chronic or long term, auto-immune mediated inflammatory condition that can affect any portion of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most often it affects small intestine and colon.
The disease mainly affects the intestinal system, but it can affect the skin, joints, bones, eyes, kidney, and liver. It can be painful, debilitating, and sometimes life threatening.
Crohn’s disease typically starts in childhood or early adulthood, but in other phases of age person’s can be affected from this disease.
Crohn’s disease has no cure, still some therapies can help people to live a normal life.
Crohn’s disease can affect different parts of the digestive tract, mouth to anus. Types of Crohn’s disease include:
In this type inflammation occurs in the small intestine and part of the large intestine, or colon. It is the most common type of Crohn’s disease.
This type of disease causes swelling and inflammation develop in the small intestine (ileum).
Inflammation and irritation affect the stomach and the top of the small intestine (the duodenum) causes this type of disease.
In this type patchy areas of inflammation develop in the upper half of the small intestine (called the jejunum).
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease differ from person to person depending on the severity of the disease. The most common symptoms include –
• Cramping and pain in your abdomen
• Weight loss
• Blood in stool
• Mouth sores
• Fistula formation near anal opening
Some other possible symptoms are
• Nausea or loss of appetite
• Eye redness or pain
• Joint pain
• kidney stones
• Skin changes that involve red, tender bumps under the skin
• Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown. Some factors, such as heredity and a malfunctioning immune system, probably play a role in its development.
• Immune system.
There is a possibility that a virus or bacterium may trigger Crohn’s disease; however, it is not proved yet. When your immune system tries to fight off the invading microorganism, an abnormal immune response causes the immune system to attack the cells in the digestive tract, too.
It is more common in people who have family history with the disease, so genes may play a role in making people more susceptible. But it is also true that, most people with Crohn’s disease don’t have a family history of the disease.
Risk Factors –
Crohn’s disease could happen with a person at any age, but mostly in the young age around 30yrs. people get affected by it.
• Family History
If one is having a first degree parent, sibling or child having the disease, it makes you more prone to get crohn’s disease in near by future.
• Cigarette Smoking
Cigarette smoking could take you to the most severe condition of the Crohn’s disease and increases risk of surgery.
• Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory conditions
The medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, diclofenac sodium and others that comes in this category are not cause of Crohn’s disease but such type of medications increases the inflammation in Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease can lead to serious complications, including:
• Anal fissures:
Fissures forms when small tears in the anus (anal fissures) causes pain, itching and bleeding.
It can cause abnormal tunnel-like openings, called fistulas, to form in the intestinal walls.
As a result of Crohn’s disease infected pus-filled pockets form in the digestive tract or abdomen.
Open sores called ulcers can form in your mouth, stomach or rectum as a complication of crohn’s disease.
• Bowel obstructions:
Scar tissue from inflammation, fistulas or a narrowed intestine can block the bowel partially or completely which ultimately requires surgery to correct this condition.
Chronic diarrhea can make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients due to which anemia (low red blood cell count) condition appears when your organs can’t get enough oxygen and health of diseased get to worse.
• Colon cancer:
Crohn’s disease in the large intestine increases the risk of colon cancer and makes the condition more complicated.
• Blood test to check number of WBC and RBC.
• Stool test to check the presence of bacteria or parasites.
• Colonoscopy need to be done to see the signs of inflammation.
• Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy.
• CT- scan is used to look for the severity of intestinal inflammation.
• Upper gastrointestinal exam by using barium liquid.
There is no cure available for Crohn’s disease yet, but the disease can be managed through a number of ways. The treatment options exist that can lessen the severity and frequency of your symptoms includes –
Antidiarrheal and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used for symptomatic treatment. The medications, or combination of medications, you need depend on your symptoms, your disease history, the severity of your condition, and how you respond to treatment.
• Anti-inflammatory drugs
The two main types of anti-inflammatory drugs doctors use to treat Crohn’s are oral 5-aminosalicylates and corticosteroids. Anti-inflammatory drugs are often the first drugs you take for Crohn’s disease treatment.
You typically take these drugs when you have mild symptoms with infrequent disease flares. Corticosteroids are used for more severe symptoms but should only be taken for a short time.
An overactive immune system causes the inflammation that leads to the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Drugs that affect the immune system, called immunomodulators, may reduce the inflammatory response and limit your immune system’s reaction.
Antibiotics can reduce drainage and heal fistulas, which are abnormal connections between tissues that Crohn’s can cause.
If treatments and lifestyle changes don’t improve patient’s symptoms, surgery may be necessary. Ultimately, about 75 percent of people with Crohn’s disease will require surgery at some point in their lives.
Some types of surgery for Crohn’s include removing damaged portions of your digestive tract and reconnecting the healthy sections. Other procedures repair damaged tissue, manage scar tissue, or treat deep infections.
Food doesn’t cause Crohn’s disease, but it can trigger flares.
A diet plan that works for one person with Crohn’s disease may not work for another. This is because the disease can involve different areas of the GI tract in different people.
• Adjust fiber intake
Some people need a high fiber, high protein diet while for others, the presence of extra food residue from high fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables may aggravate the GI tract. Therefore, you need to take a close check over the symptoms and then adjust the diet.
Pomegranate, buttermilk, banana, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, grapefruit, kiwifruit and honeydew melon are recommended. Vegetables like asparagus and potatoes can be eaten well cooked. Eat steamed vegetables and soup added to rice.
Refines grains like wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley etc. can be used which are fortified with vitamins and minerals to ensure proper nutrition. Protein rich foods like peanut, almond, cashew can be included in the diet in minimal quantity. Probiotics helps in digestion and building up a healthy immune system.
• Limit fat intake
Crohn’s disease may interfere with your body’s ability to break down and absorb fat. This excess fat will pass from your small intestine to your colon, which can cause diarrhea.
• Limit dairy intake
Earlier when you were healthy you may not have experienced lactose intolerance, but your body can develop difficulty digesting some dairy products when you have Crohn’s disease. Consuming dairy can lead to an upset stomach, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea for some people.
• Drink enough water
Crohn’s disease may affect your body’s ability to absorb water from your digestive tract. The risk of dehydration is especially high if you’re having diarrhea or bleeding so you need to drink enough amount of water to prevent dehydration.
Ayurvedic Perspective –
As per Ayurveda texts, it is said that Crohn’s Disease is caused by a weakened and imbalanced digestive system that has become susceptible to build up of toxins and the triggering of a severe immune response.
Ayurvedic Formulations –
• Bilwadi Churna
• Punarnava Mandoor
• Aarogyarardhini Vati
• Kaharva Pishti
• Mulethi Churna
• Praval Panchamrit
• Kutajghan Vati
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