Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory disease affecting mainly the lower section of the small intestine and the upper section of the large bowel. However, it can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. While not strictly speaking an autoimmune disease, Crohn’s disease behaves in the same way as one and is often triggered by an immune response to a gastrointestinal infection.
Possible Causes of Crohn’s Disease
- Twice as common in cigarette smokers as in non-smokers.
- Mainly a disease of young people under the age of 30 though of course it can strike at any age.
- Crohn’s disease has a strong familial tendency and one in five people with the disease will have a family history of it.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
- All symptoms mentioned may be mild or severe, may have a gradual or acute onset and the disease may start as a gastroenteritis.
- Recurring diarrhoea usually accompanies by cramps going on for a longer time than you would expect from a “tummy bug” like say ten days or more.
- Low grade fever, malaise, weakness and just not feeling well.
- Nausea vomiting and crampy abdominal pains.
- Blood in the bowel movement – usually dark blood mixed in with the faeces.
- Mouth ulcers, loss of appetite and weight loss.
As you can see from this, in many ways Crohn’s Disease mimics gastroenteritis or “tummy bug”. What distinguishes Crohn’s disease however is its protracted and recurring nature. If these symptoms last for more than a week and tend to recur then you may start to consider something more than your average “stomach flu” or food poisoning.
Treatment of Crohn’s Disease
- There is no one treatment for Crohn’s Disease and no cure. However good control should be possible with the right treatment or combination of treatments.
- Corticosteroids are often used such as Prednisalone starting with a high dose of say 50 mg a day and working back to 5 mg a day depending on response and symptoms.
- Entocort EC. This is similar to Prednisalone except it acts on the inflammation from within and does not act systemically.
- Surgery – to remove the segment of bowel affected by Crohn’s disease and not responding to medical treatments.
If you think that you may have Crohn’s disease and are worried about it then we may be able to help or guide you. This Online email medical consultation service is fast, affordable, private and amazingly stress free. It starts right here with a Free Medical Assessment.