The term Crohn's Disease has hit the headlines as commercials tout possible cures and the top
medical cannabis specialist in Santa Monica sees more patients with the illness. It's enough to make many who had never encountered the illness search for answers on the topic, some have even found that they may be experiencing some of its symptoms. Get to know this disease which appears more often than many people would think.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease; it is associated with lower bowel and colon but can appear anywhere in the digestive tract. This is a chronic problem for which there is no cure and it can be managed with treatments. There are several types of Crohn's disease that appear in patients:
• Lleocolitis is in the lower small intestine and the colon, many doctors refer to it as a prevalent type of illness.
• Crohn's colitis is found in the large intestine while Ileitis just affects the small intestine.
• Gastroduodenal Crohn's is found in the upper part of the small intestine as well as the esophagus and the stomach.
• Jejunoileitis is in the small intestine.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
Symptoms of Crohn's can appear all of a sudden, while other times they start slowly; there are other times the disease when it is thought to be in remission with no symptoms. There is no one set of symptoms, instead, they vary from person to person. Pain in the abdomen with cramping and diarrhea along with stool showing signs of blood and bleeding from the rectum is a major red flag. Fatigue is a common symptom and can be worse as a loss of appetite as well as weight loss sets in. Most symptoms could cause other problems in the body. For instance, abscesses can be a sign of infection as they appear in the intestines or anus. Fistulas in the intestine allow the bowel to drain out into other areas. Malnutrition can occur due to the loss of appetite.
Diagnosing The Disease
No one should self-diagnosis a condition as Chron's, instead they should seek professional help. While there is no test specifically for Crohn's disease, a doctor will make use of several other methods to make a diagnosis. They will probably start with blood tests; these tests are for antibodies and the blood count. Some people have anemia as one of the symptoms, so it is important to keep track of those levels. Doctors will also look at protein levels and electrolytes at that time. Next, they will move to x-rays; the barium used in x-rays will easily show the entire digestive tract. A colonoscopy lets the doctor see what is going on in the intestine. If necessary, a biopsy may be taken. An MRI or CT scan offers a better way to see what is going on than standard x-rays.
There are several medications that offer some help to manage Crohn's. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as corticosteroids work to relieve inflammation; they cannot be taken for more than a few months at the time. Antibiotics are given to treat any infection present and aid in the healing of abscesses. Over the counter medications help with symptoms, including pain relievers like acetaminophen. Vitamins are needed, especially if the person has anemia. Watch the diet; it may be helpful for someone to keep a food diary to find out which foods cause problems. These are not the same for everyone and what dietary exemptions work for one patient may not work for another. Surgery may be called for at some point to fix fistulas, abscesses and remove parts of the digestive tract.