Are you prone to diarrhea? Does your stool sometimes come with blood? Do you suffer from constant belly pain or chills? If yes, it could be Crohn's Disease.
Also called Regional Enteritis, Crohn's disease is an ongoing inflammatory disease of the digestive tract. It can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth to anus, leaving parts swollen. Deep sores called ulcers may also develop in these parts. The most common area affected by this disease is ileum, which is the lower part of the small intestine.
The direct cause of this disease is not yet known. Experts believe that this develops when the body's immune system gives an abnormal response to the bacteria normally found in the intestine. It's also possible that some kinds of viruses or bacteria trigger the onset of Crohn's Disease. It's also known to run in the family. It means that if you have a first-degree relative with this disease, there's a big chance that you'll also develop this later in life. People of Jewish family background are at higher risk of getting this disease. Another risk factor would be smoking.
The primary symptoms of Crohn's Disease are diarrhea and pain in the abdominal area. Sometimes, the stool comes with blood. Some people experience diarrhea 10 to 20 times a day. They tend to lose weight significantly even if they are not on a diet. Other symptoms include mouth sores, anal tears, bowel blockages, and openings between the organs. Symptoms can be aggravated by smoking, stress, hormonal changes, and infections. It's imperative to call your health practitioner if you experience severe pain in the belly, feel faint or have weak pulse, experience shaking chills/fever, or vomit repeatedly.
Managing this lifelong disease isn't easy but it's possible with these effective strategies. Here are some of those that should be kept in mind if you or someone you know is suffering from this disease.
- Consult Doctor for Medication
Go to your doctor so that he/she can prescribe the right medication for you. For mild symptoms, it may be treated with over-the-counter medicines to stop the diarrhea, as this can cause weight loss and dehydration. A doctor may also prescribe medicines that control the inflammation of the intestine so that the symptoms caused by the disease would be put to a halt. These medicines also help repair the damaged tissues so that the need for surgery may be postponed or eliminated. For more serious cases, stronger treatment that is usually passed through a vein may be suggested by your doctor. Rarely would there be a need to remove a part of the intestine for a surgery since the disease can come back even after that.
- Live Healthy
Take care of yourself better. Don't only take the medicines prescribed, but also make the necessary lifestyle changes. Engage in regular exercises and have a well-balanced diet. Since the disease makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients, you need to have a high calorie, high vitamin and mineral, and high protein diet to ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. It's also a must that you stop smoking for good, since this habit can flare up the symptoms and make the disease worse. Finally, see to it that you take a break once in a while. Like smoking, stress can also worsen the symptoms so you need to manage your stress more effectively.