Crohn’s disease is an Autoimmune Disease that usually causes inflammations and ulcerations in all the layers of small and large intestines, esophagus, mouth or any other part of the gastrointestinal tract. It may affect more than one area at a time and cause blockages in the GI tract by thicken the walls and linings.
It is also known as Granulomatous Colitis, Regional Enteritis, Morbus Lesniowski-Crohn or Crohn-Lesniowski Disease.
When Crohn’s disease is accompanied by Ulcerative Colitis, then it is referred to as Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The exact cause leading to Crohn’s Disease is not known. It is characterized by an abnormal reaction of the immune system in response to the normal bacteria present in the intestines.
It is mostly hereditary in nature, that is, it runs in families. Smoking has been associated with an increased risk of developing this disease. A diet high in sugars and low in fibers tends to worsen this disease.
Signs and Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease
Flare-ups related to this disease tend to follow an unpredictable pattern. The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease largely depend on the area affected by this disease.
Still, some common symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are bloating, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, rectal bleeding, loss of appetite, weight loss and other related symptoms. It may also cause low grade fevers, night sweats, mouth sores, skin lesions, joint pains etc.
Damage to the intestinal walls due to inflammation may lead to mal absorption of essential nutrients thereby causing malnutrition, dehydration, kidney stones, gallstones and stunted growth in small children.
Anal fissures and fistulas caused by intestinal blockages due to Crohn’s disease may lead to discharge of pus and mucus around the anus.
Crohn’s Disease has also been associated with fertility problems and increased risk of miscarriages in women. Massive colon distention and intestinal rupture are some rare complications associated with Crohn’s Disease. Moreover, chronic Crohn’s Disease tends to increase the risk of developing cancer of the small intestine and colon.
Treatment and Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
Colonoscopy, Stool Analysis, CAT scanning and Barium X-ray studies are usually used determine the location, nature and severity of this disease.
Nowadays, the method of video capsule endoscopy is also gaining popularity but it generally avoided in case of patients suffering from obstruction of the small intestine to avoid further obstruction.
There is no specific cure for this chronic disease. Still, a number of medicines like immune suppressing drugs, immune modifiers, anti inflammatory drugs, and antibiotics are generally administered to control Crohn’s Disease. Resection surgeries may also be required in case of severe intestinal obstructions and abscesses.
Certain dietary measures and intake of therapeutic herbs like boswellia extract, aloe vera, hydrastis canadensis serve as effective natural home remedies for Crohn’s Disease.