Crohn's Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of this Bowel Disease

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Crohn's Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of this Bowel Disease

Crohn’s Disease is one of the emerging health concerns in India as it is on the rise in Southern India, and it is perceived that the diagnosed cases are a few of many undiagnosed. Due to the limited access to the proper medical care for this disease, pain and suffering often go undetected. In the nation alone, there are over 600 million people in rural regions where quality healthcare remains a matter of concern. Therefore, Crohn’s disease’s burden has both economic and educational limitations, says Dr Rupa Bannerjee, Gastroenterologist & the Director of the IBD Center at the Asian Institute of Gastroenterology.

This informative article will provide extensive information about Crohn’s Disease symptoms and treatment.

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) causing tissue swelling in the digestive tract resulting in abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, weight loss, malnutrition and weakness in patients. It causes inflammation in different parts of the digestive tract, mostly in the small intestine. Once the inflammation goes deeper into the bowel, it gets painful and debilitating and may lead to fatal complications.

However, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, but timely treatment can help subdue the signs and symptoms, and in many cases, there could be long-term remission and healing of inflammation. With immediate treatment, it has been discerned that many people with Crohn’s disease can live a quality life.

What are the Crohn’s Disease Symptoms?

In Crohn’s disease, either of your intestines can be involved, and in some people, the infection spreads in the colon, which is the large intestine’s part only. The signs and symptoms of the disease vary from mild to severe and will often develop gradually, but sometimes it can be sudden without any warning signs. You may also experience a time when you don’t have any signs or symptoms at all.

When Crohn’s disease is diagnosed, symptoms usually include:

Crohn’s Disease Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Blood in stool
  • Mouth sores or blisters
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite

People with chronic Crohn's disease may also have symptoms outside the intestinal tract. One could experience symptoms such as inflammation of the skin, eyes, joints, liver and bile ducts, kidney stones, anaemia (iron deficiency) and delayed development or growth in children.

When Should You See Your Doctor?

See your doctor immediately if you are experiencing changes in your bowel movements regularly or if you have noticed the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as-

  • Diarrhoea lasting more than two weeks
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in the stool
  • Nausea 
  • Fever with any of the above symptoms

Causes of Crohn’s Disease

The root cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, but a few speculations have been going around. Diet and stress were once suspected to be the cause, but later it was perceived that these factors could aggravate the disease but couldn’t be the cause. Below mentioned are the two most probable causes of Crohn’s disease-

Weak Immune System- You are always vulnerable to viruses if you have a weak immune system. When the immune system fights off a new microorganism invading your system, an unusual immune response also causes the immune system to attack the cells in your digestive tract. However, medical experts have yet to identify what triggers the disease the most.

Family History- It has been assessed that people with a family history of Crohn’s disease are more likely to fall prey to this disease than those with no such genes. Although there is not much conviction in these findings, most people with Crohn’s disease have been found with no carrier in the family.

>> Read More: How Immunity Can Help Fight Common Diseases in India?

Risk Factors of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Risk factors for inflammatory bowel disease may include the following factors-

Age- Crohn’s disease can develop at any age, but most cases have come up in youngsters below 30.

Smoking- Smoking could be the most lethal risk factor for you to develop or aggravate the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications- Medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), and diclofenac sodium pose a threat of bowel inflammation that may lead to Crohn’s disease.

Complications Due to Crohn's Disease

Crohn's disease may lead to the following complications:

Bowel Obstruction- Crohn's disease affects intestinal wall thickness, and gradually parts of the bowel get scarred and narrow, which may block the process of digestive contents known as a stricture.

Ulcers- Chronic inflammation often leads to ulcers (sores) around your digestive tract, including your mouth and genital area.

Anal Fissure- It is a tear in the tissue that lines the anus or in the skin around the anus where infections occur. It may cause painful bowel movements and a perianal fistula.

Malnutrition-  Abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and cramping could make it difficult for you to eat. It may also trouble your intestine to absorb sufficient nutrients to keep you nourished. In this health condition, you may also develop anaemia because of low vitamin B-12 or iron.

Blood Clots- Crohn's disease makes you more vulnerable to developing blood clots in veins and arteries.

Other Health Problems- Crohn's disease causes problems in other parts of the body as well. It may trigger problems such as arthritis, anaemia and liver disease.

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Crohn’s Disease?

You can’t be fully protected against the disease as it may occur even when you practice a healthy lifestyle. However, there definitely are some preventive measures that you can follow to stay protected-

  • Eat a low-fat diet
  • Drink ample amount of water
  • Regular exercise
  • Consume multi-vitamins supplements and probiotics 
  • Reduce anxiety and stress levels
  • Get uninterrupted sleep for at least 7 hours
  • Quit smoking
  • Control the alcohol consumption

Does Your Health Insurance Plan Cover Crohn’s Disease?

Several health insurance providers offer protection against the medical treatment expenses of Crohn’s disease. Care Health Insurance’s Critical Illness Insurance offers coverage against critical illnesses such as liver diseases, cancers, kidney ailments, etc. You can safeguard yourself against Crohn’s disease under Care’s critical illness plan as per the underwriter’s discretion, and it also depends on your waiting period duration. So, it is advisable to thoroughly review your policy document to know about the terms and conditions beforehand.

Disclaimer: The above-mentioned information is for reference purposes only. Please refer to your policy document for any queries.

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