Crohn’s disease is marked by an inflammation in the digestive tract, which is also called regional enteritis and can cause a number of different complications in the human body. The inflammation in the digestive tract decreases the body’s ability to process food and also causes symptoms that can lead even to the death of a person.
For the present, there is no cure and no clue to what causes Crohn’s disease. Yet, it is not all doom and gloom for patients suffering from the disease because it can be managed, thus allowing patients to continue their lives minimally affected by it.
What Causes Crohn's Disease?
Researchers have found some possible causes to Crohn's disease, yet they are still far from a definitive one. All they know about the disease is the inflammation caused by the disease is in the digestive tract.
- Internal problems have been identified as a cause of the Crohn’sdisease with major chunk of the blame going immune system’s way for attacking healthy bacteria and food causing inflammation in the intestines, small bowel and colon.
- Since many people of the same family have been found with the disease, it has also been identified as a hereditary disease.
Risk Factors of Crohn’s Disease
Though without definite answer to what causes Crohn's disease, there're some factors that could increase one's risk of developing it.
The disease can start at any age but chances of developing the disease go down as you age. Most people who develop Crohn’s disease have been diagnosed before the age of 30.
Genetics has been found to play a role in Crohn’s because the risk of developing the condition increases if a relative also has the same disease. Almost 1 in 5 people with Crohn’s have a relative with the same disease.
Cigarette smoking plays a role in the onset of the disease, and is the most important controllable risk factor of the Crohn’s disease. The simplest advice would be to quit smoking independently if you can. Otherwise consult your physician so that he can advise you a smoking cessation program.
The place where you live, environment and climate act a part in the disease as well. People living in urbanized localities in industrialized nations are at greater risk of getting the disease compared to those from rural areas. Environment and a diet with high fat content and processed food increase the risk of developing Crohn’s disease.
Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
The disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract and symptoms change a lot from one patient to the other. Though symptoms vary, a few symptoms are common among patients suffering from the Crohn’s disease.
- Consistent pain in the abdomen and the GI tract where inflammation has been caused by the disease
- Diarrhea containing blood
- Improper digestion of food leading to malnutrition and slow physical growth in case of children
- Nausea, weakness, weight loss and fever
- Ulcer bleeding in the intestinal tract and infections because of fistula formation in various parts of the body
Home Remedies for Crohn's Disease
Now that we have known what causes Crohn's disease and its symptoms, let's focus on how to get rid of it.
1. Change Diet
A proper and healthy diet can not only provide you with the nutrition needed to maintain physical health, but also help you to avoid some diseases.
- Drink more water. Fluid intake should be enhanced during Crohn’s disease and the best fluid to consume is water because liquids like tea, coffee and alcohol cause intestinal stimulation making your diarrhea worse, whereas gas is produced by carbonated drinks.
- Have small meals. Another advice for people suffering from Crohn’s Disease is to have smaller meals, namely 5 to 6 times a day. This would help you feel better.
- Eat low-fat foods. Crohn’s disease in the small intestine limits your capability of processing fats. In this case, fat passes through intestine in the same form as it has been taken, thus worsening the diarrhea. Therefore, it is so much important to start low fat foods in place of high fat containing products like butter, margarine and fried foods.
- Avoid problem foods. You must identify foods which make your condition worse and then avoid them at all cost. Caffeine containing drinks and gas containing foods are some items which can increase your symptoms.
- Limit dairy products. People suffering from inflammation of the abdomen and GI tract normally find out that dairy products tend to deteriorate their condition, increasing diarrhea as well as abdominal pain. This is the reason avoiding dairy products would help you manage your Crohn’s in a better manner.
- Consider multivitamins and mineral supplements. Crohn’s adversely affects the body’s ability to process food causing weakness and weight loss. Multivitamins and mineral supplements can be helpful. However, before starting any medication, you must consult your physician.
2. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle means a lot. Try to keep physically healthy through some change of your lifestyle.
- Exercise more. Exercise can benefit you in a number of different ways. It can help you relieve your stress and improve bowel function. Any exercise you do should be done after consultation with your physician.
- Reduce stress. Stress can increase the severity of your symptoms and also increases the chances of flare-ups. Stress directly impacts the working of your digestive system and increases or decreases acid secretion by your stomach. A bio feedback machine relaxes muscles and reduces heart rate which ensures stress levels are down. Breathing exercises and regular relaxation also reduces the buildup of tension in your body.
- Quit smoking. Smoking not only increases the risk of having Crohn’s disease, it also puts you under increased danger of developing complications, requiring surgery and having flare ups. Smoking puts your digestive tract under undue duress and quitting the habit of smoking will positively affect the health of your digestive system.
Is Crohn's Disease Curable?
Crohn’s disease might be incurable, but can be managed. However, managing Crohn’s requires great efforts from patients. Your physician will advise you medications like immunosuppressant, steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs and treatment which can also include surgery. Surgical procedure would be to remove areas infected severely by the disease.
When to See a Doctor
It takes the joint efforts of both patients and physicians to cope with the Crohn’s disease. Therefore, when you suffer from abdominal pain or diarrhea which is not caused by OTC medications, or when you have fever lasting longer than one day or blood in your stool, or when there is something irregular going on about your bowel habits, it is time that you consulted your physicians.
Here is a video about what Crohn's disease is: