Crohn's Disease Symptoms

What is Crohns Disease and what are the symptoms? Crohn's disease is a disorder of the colon. It is similar to ulcerative colitis. Read on to learn more about Crohn's disease.

What is Crohn's disease? It is a disorder of the colon. It is one type of inflammatory bowel disease. Another you may have heard of is Ulcerative Colitis. The diseases feature chronic inflammation of the large or small intestine. Unfortunately, the cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. Crohn's causes swelling of the deeper layers of the lining of the intestine.

Symptoms of Crohn's disease include: cramping, abdominal pain (often, but not always on the right lower side), diarrhea that may or may not contain blood, fever, weight loss. The disease usually starts in young adults with low grade fever and frequent diarrhea and cramping. Crohn's disease has been known to cause inflammation anywhere in the entire gastointestinal system, from the mouth to the anus. Because this is a chronic condition, meaning it is continual, scar tissue can build up in the intestines and even cause blockage and can also cause tears called fistulas, that will connect the bowels to another part of the body like the vagina, the bladder or the skin itself in the lining of the intestine.

Besides the intestinal symptoms, Crohns can and often does, in more severe cases, cause other symptoms and affect other parts of the body. Crohn's can cause arthritis-like symtoms, with swelling and pain in the joints. It can also cause swellng and pain in the eyes, of the skin, in the liver, kidneys, or gallbladder.

There is no cure for Crohn's disease but there seem to be periods of remission when symptoms subside and periods of exacerbation when symptoms are at their worst. This disease is not believed to be hereditary. There is no cure but the disease is manageable.

The diagnosis consists of a physical exam, blood tests that will show low red blood cells and/or high white blood cell count. Also a colonoscopy and barium enema (small bowel x-ray) must be done to check out the inside of the rectum and colon.

The primary treatment is controlling the symptoms and exacerbations. This is done with prescription medications. Often times steroids are used to control inflammation. Steroids and some of the other medications do have some side effects which your doctor will discuss with you. Sometimes Crohn's is so severe that hospitalization is required to manage it. Also, if it is so severe, the colon or parts of it have to be surgically removed and the person has to have a colostomy, which is an opening to the outside of the abdomen, where fecal waste is collected in a small plastic bag. But for the most part, the disease is managable and people are able to live a productive life, hold a job and most who are women are able to have children.

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