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Chron’s Disease Symptoms, Causes, Complications, and Treatment

Chron’s Disease Symptoms, Causes, Complications, and Treatment

Chron’s disease refers to a chronic condition in the form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that takes place in any part of the gastrointestinal tract (from mouth to anus). But it mostly affects the intestines, both the small and large parts. Chron’s disease irritates and inflames the tract, damaging the entire bowel wall. Some people also may refer to it as regional enteritis or regional ileitis.

Different Types of Chron’s Disease

Crohn’s disease can occur in different parts of the digestive tract. It may also come in a variety of forms, including:

  • Ileocolitis. This is the most common form of Chron’s disease inflammation, which takes place in the small intestine and a portion of the large intestine.
  • Ileitis. This is a condition in which the small intestine becomes swollen and inflamed (ileum).
  • Gastroduodenal. This affects the stomach and the top of the small intestine with inflammation and irritation (duodenum).
  • Jejunoileitis. This is characterized by the development of patchy areas of inflammation in the upper half of the small intestine (jejunum).

Signs and Symptoms of Chron’s Disease

People with this condition may have periods of severe symptoms (flare-ups), which are usually followed by a remission period with little to no symptoms. This latter period can last for weeks, months, or even years. However, it is difficult to anticipate when flare-ups will occur.

Chron’s disease can be characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Weight

Other symptoms are as follows:

  • Anemia
  • Eye redness or pain
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain or soreness
  • Nausea and/or loss of appetite
  • Changes in the skin (i.e., red, tender bumps under the skin)

Symptoms may vary from person to person depending on the location and severity of the inflammation.

According to several studies, the stress of having Crohn’s disease can worsen symptoms. Some people may also discover that certain types of food trigger or aggravate their symptoms.

Doctors may need to run a series of tests to diagnose the condition in a patient. Some of these are blood and stool tests, colonoscopy, upper gastrointestinal tract endoscopy, and other diagnostic imaging tests.

Causes of Chron’s Disease

Doctors and experts are still investigating the possible causes of this particular condition. However, they believe that the following factors may play a role in the development of the condition:

Autoimmune Reaction

An autoimmune reaction — where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body — could be one cause of Crohn’s disease. According to experts, bacteria in your digestive tract can incorrectly activate your immune system. And this, in turn, causes inflammation, which leads to Crohn’s disease symptoms.

Genes

Crohn’s disease can run in families. According to research, having a parent or sibling with the same condition can increase your likelihood of developing it as well. However, experts are still looking into the connection between genes and the disease.

Other risk factors that can slightly increase your chances of developing the said disease include the following:

  • Certain medications (i.e., antibiotics, birth control pills, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • High-fat diet

Meanwhile, cigarette smoking can double your risk of getting Chron’s disease.

Possible Complications of Chron’s Disease

If you are diagnosed with Chron’s disease, there is a possibility that it may lead to one or more of the following complications:

  • Bowel obstruction
  • Ulcers
  • Fistulas
  • Anal fissure
  • Malnutrition
  • Blood clots
  • Colon cancer
  • Other health problems (i.e., anemia, skin disorders, osteoporosis, arthritis, gallbladder, or liver disease)
  • Medication risks (i.e., lymphoma, skin cancers, osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure)

Treatment and Management

Crohn’s disease has no cure, but treatments can reduce inflammation in your intestines, relieve symptoms, and prevent further complications.

Medication, bowel rest, and surgery are all options for treatment. There is no single treatment that is effective for everyone. Some people may also need to undergo lifestyle changes. Quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating a low-fat, healthy diet, and managing stress may all help to relieve the symptoms.

Coordinate with your doctor to understand what treatment will work best for you.

Key Takeaways

Chron’s disease can occur to anyone at any age. There are times when you may find it difficult to live with it. But being able to control and manage the flare-ups can help you to live a normal life.

Learn more about Infectious Diseases here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated Apr 06
Fact Checked by Vincent Sales