The digestive system is a collective of organs-from the mouth to the anus-that works together to convert food info absorbable nutrients, which provide energy for the body. 1
Crohn’s disease chronic Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) that leads to the development of inflammation in your digestive system. 2
It can affect any part of the Gl tract, from the mouth to the anus. It most commonly affects the end of the small intestine where it joins the beginning of the colon. 3
It may appear in “patches,” affecting some areas of the Gl tract while leaving other sections completely untouched. 4
Many people are confused when it comes to the differences between inflammatory
bowel disease(IBD), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.6,9
Also, IBD shouldn’t be confused with irritable bowel syndrome(IBS).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS)
While some symptoms may be similar at times, source and course of the conditions differ quite significantly.
While multiple contributing factors have been found, the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. 1
Males and females appear to be approximately equal.
On average, people are more frequently diagnosed with CD between the ages of 20 and 30 although it can occur at any age.
People who have a family history of CD are more susceptible to the disease.
Abnormal immune responses may attack the healthy cells of the body, causing the symptoms of CD.
Environmental triggers such as smoking, stress, and unbalanced diet are associated with a higher risk of developing CD.
Crohn’s disease can occur in various areas of the Gl tract. Disease activity and severity can vary widely over time.10
Urgent need to move bowels and sensation of incomplete evacuation are other symptoms related to inflammation of the Gl tract. 6
Weight loss, night sweats and loss of normal menstrual cycle are general symptoms that may be associated with CD. 6
Your physician will likely use a combination of tests and check for contributing causes such as family history and medical pasts in order to diagnose Crohn’s disease.10,11
To check for levels of red blood cells(or white blood cells) and whether you show signs of inflammation, infections, or anaemia.
Tested for signs for bleeding or inflammation, and to check whether your diarrhea is caused by an infection. Fecal calprotectin has been proposed as a noninvasive surrogate marker of intestinal inflammation in IBD.
Looking at the interior of the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine when it is suspected that your symptoms are coming from the upper digestive system.
Looking at the interior of the rectum and colon when symptoms are suspected to be originating from the ileum or colon.
Perform to obtain a more detailed image of organs and tissues.
CD is a chronic condition that cannot be completely cured.1, 6, 11
Therefore, the main goals of medical treatment are to achieve remission(the absence of symptoms), maintain remission(prevent flare-ups of symptoms) and improve quality of life.6,12
Symptoms of Crohn's disease may range from mild to severe, and will vary from person to person.1
Treatment choice depends on the severity, stage, location of disease, and the extraintestinal complications.
CD is a chronic condition that is characterized by intermittent periods of active disease(flare-ups) and little or no disease activity(remission).1, 14
About 50% of patients will be in remission or have mild disease over the next five years.10, 11
Most of people with CD take a maintenance drug to help keep symptoms in check, even when CD is quiescent. 10, 14
A flare is the reappearance of disease symptoms. The most common symptoms of CD are: 14,15
You cannot completely prevent flare-ups of CD. But, there are several self managements that you can do to optimize your health:16
The best way to control CD and reduce the risk of flares is by taking medications as recommended by your doctor.
Well informed about the details of your symptoms and stay in close communication with your doctors.
Smoking can make the symptoms of CD worse and can make it more difficult to treat.
Well-balanced nutrition is an essential part of staying healthy and minimizing the effects of the disease.
A regular exercise routine can improve overall health, and may be particularly beneficial for people with CD.
A flare-up will probably not resolve by itself, and treatment will be needed. Maintenance drugs will be continued during a flare-up, and other drugs, diet modifications, or more treatment may be prescribed by your doctor to bring the disease back under control.15
Patients with CD do have a slightly higher risk of developing colon cancer and lymphomas. This is dependent partly on the number of years you have the disease. Your physician may recommend periodic colonoscopies for full evaluation of the colon.
Many individuals with Crohn's disease respond well to medical treatment and never need to undergo surgery. However, between 66 and 75 percent of people will require surgery at some point during their lives.
There is no standardized diet that will be the solution for CD patients. However, adjusting your diet can be helpful to manage some of your symptoms, and can help your medications work better.
Tracking your diet with daily food journal can help you identify what foods and beverages work well for you and which ones don’t.11
Used during corticosteroid therapy to reduce water retention
Used to avoid blockages in CD patients with strictures and to avoid stimulating bowel movements
Typically recommended during a flare in CD when fat absorption may become an issue
For those who have an intolerance to dairy products
For those who experience weight loss or growth delay
It may cause diarrhea and gas
It may cause excessive gas
It may cause a severe diarrhea
1. Crohn’s and Colitis UK. Crohn’s Disease. Crohn’s Disease Edition 7c. 2020.
2. Mayo Clinic. Crohn’s disease. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353304 Accessed February 2020
3. CDC. What is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)? Available at https://www.cdc.gov/ibd/what-is-IBD.htm Accessed February 2020
4. BioSpace. Inflammatory bowel disease insight report. Available at https://www.biospace.com/article/inflammatory-bowel-disease-insight-report-current-therapies-drug-pipeline-and-outlook/ Accessed February 2020
5. John’s Hopkins Medicine. Crohn’s disease. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gastroenterology_hepatology/_pdfs/small_large_intestine/crohns_disease.pdf Available at Accessed February 2020
6. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Available at https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/pdfs/updatedibdfactbook.pdf Accessed February 2020
7. PHARMWIKI. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Available at http://tmedweb.tulane.edu/pharmwiki/doku.php/inflammatory_bowel_disease_ibd Accessed February 2020
8. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. IBS and IBD: Two Very Di erent Disorders. Available at http://www.ccfa.org/resources/ibs-and-ibd-two-very.html Accessed February 2020.
9. Mayo Clinic. Irritable bowel syndrome. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016 Accessed February 2020
10. IBDclinic. IBD treatment. Available at http://www.ibdclinic.ca/treatment/ Accessed February 2020
11. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Living with Crohn’s Disease. Available at https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/legacy/assets/pdfs/living-with-crohns-disease.pdf Accessed February 2020
12. NYU Langone Health. Diagnosing Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Adults. Available at https://nyulangone.org/conditions/inflammatory-bowel-disease-in-adults/diagnosis Accessed February 2020
13. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Types of medications for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Available at https://site.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/resources/types-of-medications.html Accessed February 2020
14. Verywellhealth. What is an IBD flare-up? Available at https://www.verywellhealth.com/whatis-an-ibd-flare-up-1942490
15. Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Managing Flares and IBD Symptoms. Available at https://www. crohnscolitisfoundation.org/sites/default/files/2019-07/managing-flares-brochure-final-online.pdf Accessed February 2020
16. Harvard Health Publishing. Living with Crohn’s disease: recognizing and managing flares. Available at https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/living-with-crohns-disease-recognizingand-managing-flares-2019112618410 Accessed February 2020
17. WJG. Inflammatory bowel disease and cancer: The role of inflammation, immunosuppression, and cancer treatment. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4873872/pdf/WJG-22-4794.pdf Accessed February 2020
CD, Crohn's disease; CT, computed tomography; GI, gastrointestinal; IBD, inflammatory bowel disease; IBS, irritable bowel syndrome; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging;
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