Crohn’s disease is a chronic disorder of the digestive system which causes chronic inflammation in the lining of the intestines, leading to the appearance of symptoms such as intestinal irritation, bleeding, sensitivity to some foods, diarrhoea and intestinal pain.
Symptoms of Chrohn’s disease may take months to years to appear, making it difficult to diagnose. The disease has no cure. However, the treatment aims to relieve the symptoms and promote quality life in the patient. It should therefore be done according to the guidance of a nutritionist or a gastroenterologist.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease
The symptoms of Chrohn’s disease may take time to appear and they are usually progressive as it is directly influenced by the degree of inflammation in the intestine. It is usually accompanied by several symptoms such as abdominal pain that worsens after meals, diarrhoea and sometimes bloody stools that come with an urgent willingness to excrete. Other symptoms of the disease include:
1. Periods of severe diarrhoea with mucus or blood
2. Urgent willingness to defecate, especially after eating
3. Frequent abdominal cramps
4. Nausea or vomiting
5. Loss of appetite and weight loss
6. Persistent low fever (between 37.5º and 38º)
7. Lesions in the anal region, such as haemorrhoids or fissures
8. Frequent tiredness or muscle pain
Aside from these symptoms, lesions may also appear in the anal region and may be accompanied by haemorrhoids, fissures or fistulas. The symptoms can be further aggravated by the consumption of some foods such as spicy foods or difficult-to-digest dairy foods. It may also be worsened by stress and worry.
Crohn’s disease doe not yet have fully clarified causes. However, it is believed that the disease is due to changes in the immune system which lead to an exaggerated response by the body during infection. It addition, it may also be caused by genetic factors, environmental factors, the person’s intestinal microbiota and feeding.
The disease can manifest itself at any stage of life but is more common to arise after periods of great stress or concern. It affects both men and women and its onset may also be related to the family history of the disease.
How treatment is done
Crohn’s disease has no cure but treatment is usually done with the aim of relieving symptoms and improving quality of life of the patient. Treatment is done according to the guidance of the gastroenterologist and nutritionist. It involves the use of medications that relieve pain and stop diarrhoea in times of crisis as well as taking a healthy and balanced diet.
In the most severe cases, the doctor may recommend surgery to remove parts of the intestine that may have been infected and damaged by the diease.