Dealing with Crohn’s disease can be difficult. People who suffer from the disease need to be careful with the food they eat, deal with pain and discomfort, and they might need to rush to the bathroom at a moment’s notice.
There have been 700,000 cases reported in the U.S alone. Here is everything you need to know about Crohn’s disease.
1. What Is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is caused by a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It could affect any part from the mouth to the anus. Though it’s mostly severe in the small intestine. Crohn’s disease is a part of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Crohn’s disease is similar to another IBD known as ulcerative colitis. While Crohn’s disease targets the small intestine, ulcertative colitis strikes the long intestine.
2. Why Does It Happen?
While people may jump to diet and lifestyle choices as reasons for Crohn’s disease, the truth is these factors only aggravate the condition. The exact causes for the disease are unknown. It maybe caused by several issues like a weak immune system, and genetics. But none of these claims have been proven.
A recent study claims Crohn’s disease could be caused by a fungus.1 The study says that two types of bacteria found in the tract interact with a fungus known as Candida tropicalis, and combine to form a biofilm. This in turn triggers an inflammation.
3. Here’s What You Need To Look For
Here are the symptoms you need to look out for in the case of Crohn’s disease.
- Moment’s notice to go to the bathroom: If you feel like you urgently need to pass bowels often, this is a sign that something’s not right. In fact, 7 out of 10 people face this situation when diagnosed with Crohn’s.
- Abdominal pain: Another red flag to watch out for is any sort of cramping or pain in your abdominal area. With Crohn’s disease, your small intestine is attacked and this causes the pain you feel. This pain is sometimes confused with appendicitis. Pain from Crohn’s disease could range from mild to severe depending on the person.
- Ulcers: A common symptom of Crohn’s is the appearance of ulcers in the gut and sometimes in the mouth.
- Anal fissures: If you are passing stool frequently, this could create fissures around the anus. These fissures could bleed out.
- Diarrhea and constipation: Diarrhea is one of the first signs you would notice. Since it comes frequently, it could interfere with your daily life activities. Blood and mucus could be found in the stool. For some people it could be with constipation. This could lead to obstructive bowel disorders and it might need to be treated with surgery.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite: These are common symptoms because with Crohn’s you would be losing a lot of fluid, blood, and nutrients from your body. With the abdominal cramping and the inability of the tract to absorb food, people tend to lose weight and become anemic.
4. The Diagnosis
It affects both men and women. It could occur between 15-35 years of age. Crohn’s disease is diagnosed using a combination of endoscopy, biopsy, and blood tests.
5. How Is It Treated?
So far, no cure has been found. The treatments available currently help to reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Most cases are treated with drug therapy. In some situations surgery is required where the damaged part of the tract is removed.
6. Here Are A Few Natural Diet Remedies
Consuming probiotics can be helpful for people with Crohn’s disease. Probiotics have the same properties like the good bacteria found in the digestive tract. Yogurt might not be a good option since most people with the disease are asked to stay away from dairy to avoid any flare up. Other options are kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut.
Prebiotics help with the growth of useful microorganisms in the gut. They fuel probiotics to do their work. They are found in whole grains, bananas, garlic, leeks, onions, and asparagus. Combining prebiotics and probiotics can be beneficial to deal with Crohn’s disease.
Fish oil has been found to give relief to people with Crohn’s disease. One study claims people who consumed fish oil increased their chances of remaining in remission.2 Thanks to the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids, present in fish oil.
7. Acupuncture Might Be An Answer
Acupuncture has been proven to help with Crohn’s disease. A 2014 study claims that acupuncture provided therapeutic benefits to patients.3 They demonstrated significant improvements in quality-of-life ratings after their treatment.
8. Essential Oils Can Be Beneficial
Using essential oils can help deal with the pain and relax muscles in the abdomen. Frankincense essential oil has been found to improve digestive health by increasing the production of useful digestive enzymes.4 Lemongrass oil is also useful since it’s anti-inflammatory in nature.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Hoarau, G., P. K. Mukherjee, C. Gower-Rousseau, C. Hager, J. Chandra, M. A. Retuerto, C. Neut et al. “Bacteriome and mycobiome interactions underscore microbial dysbiosis in familial Crohn’s disease.” MBio 7, no. 5 (2016): e01250-16.|
|2.||↑||Turner, Dan, Stanley H. Zlotkin, Prakeshkumar S. Shah, and Anne Marie Griffiths. “Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) for maintenance of remission in Crohn’s disease.” The Cochrane Library (2009).|
|3.||↑||Bao, Chun-Hui, Ji-Meng Zhao, Hui-Rong Liu, Yuan Lu, Yi-Fang Zhu, Yin Shi, Zhi-Jun Weng et al. “Randomized controlled trial: moxibustion and acupuncture for the treatment of Crohn’s disease.” World J Gastroenterol 20, no. 31 (2014): 11000-11011.|
|4.||↑||Ammon, H. P. “[Boswellic acids (components of frankincense) as the active principle in treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases].” Wiener medizinische Wochenschrift (1946) 152, no. 15-16 (2001): 373-378.|