Crohn’s Disease Definition
Crohn’s disease is one of the chronic inflammatory bowel diseases that cause inflammation of the lining of the walls of the digestive system, from the mouth to the anus. However, this condition is more common in the small intestine and colon.
Crohn’s disease can occur in both men and women of all ages. This condition can cause pain in the stomach, the body feels weak, it can even cause life-threatening complications. The symptoms of Crohn’s disease are often considered “similar but not the same” to other inflammatory bowel diseases, namely ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease Causes
Researchers believe bacteria or viruses can trigger the immune system to attack the inner lining of the gut. This immune system reaction causes inflammation, causing symptoms.
Crohn’s disease sometimes runs in the family. Studies have shown that people who have parents or siblings with Crohn’s disease may be more likely to develop the disease.
Some studies show that certain things in the environment can increase a person’s chance of developing Crohn’s disease, although the overall chances are low.
Anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, and contraceptive drugs may increase the likelihood of Crohn’s disease.
Certain types of food.
Eating foods with high fats can also increase the chances of developing Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s Disease Complications
If inflammation of the intestines due to Crohn’s disease is left, it will certainly trigger a more severe condition.
Here are some complications of Crohn’s disease that you need to recognize reported from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
Intestinal obstruction (blockage)
Crohn’s disease can thicken the intestinal wall. As a result, the intestinal area will narrow which can inhibit the intestines.
This condition, also called intestinal blockage, can slow down the movement of food or feces through the intestines.
Inflammation of Crohn’s disease can also penetrate the intestinal wall and cause fistulas. Fistulas are pathways that appear between two organ cavities that are supposed to be separated and can become infected.
Inflammation of the intestinal wall can also result in an abscess, which is a pus-filled infection bag that is painful and can swell.
Fissure ani is small tears in the anus that trigger symptoms such as itching, pain, or bleeding.
If you experience inflammation of the digestive system, including the intestines, the risk of developing ulcers or open wounds in the mouth to the anus also increases.
Malnutrition due to diarrhea can occur because the body does not get the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients needed.
Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis
To determine the diagnosis of Crohn’s disease, the doctor will perform a physical and supporting examination. Blood tests performed can determine the level of inflammation in the body and to know the presence of infections and anemia (bleeding from the digestive system can cause anemia).
Stool samples will also be examined for mucus, blood, or other infections. Examination to get a clearer picture can be done through endoscopy and colonoscopy, as well as examinations such as CT scans and MRI.
Over time, inflammation can become worse. Therefore, early diagnosis is very important.
Various complications can occur if the disorder is not treated immediately, such as the condition of the part of the intestine that can narrow, the formation of fistulas (the formation of unusual connections between the intestines and the skin near the anus or vagi**na), even life-threatening risks.
Crohn’s Disease Treatment
Until now the Crohn’s disease has not been completely cured and there is not one effective treatment for all Crohn’s disease sufferers. However, treatment is still needed to reduce symptoms and help people with Crohn’s disease have a good quality of life.
How to treat Crohn’s disease will generally depend on the severity and how long you have been experiencing the condition. Some methods of handling Crohn’s disease include:
Crohn’s Disease Medications
The options of drugs commonly used to treat Crohn’s disease are:
Anti-inflammatory drugs are usually the first and foremost option for overcoming Crohn’s disease. Examples include corticosteroids (such as prednisone and budesonide) and 5-aminosalicylates (such as sulfasalazine). Both of these drugs work by reducing the inflammation that occurs in the body.
Immune system suppressant drugs (immunosuppressants)
Immunosuppressant drugs include azathioprine, infliximab, methotrexate, natalizumab, vedolizumab, and ustekinumab. The effect of this drug is to reduce inflammation by targeting the immune system.
Antibiotic drugs are given to reduce fluid production and cure fistulas and asbestos in people with Crohn’s disease.
Some studies also mention that antibiotics can help in reducing intestinal bacteria that are harmful to the gastrointestinal tract and can trigger inflammation. Common types of antibiotics given to people with Crohn’s disease are ciprofloxacin and metronidazole.
Several other medications can also be prescribed to reduce and relieve symptoms of Crohn’s disease. For example, anti-diarrheal medications, pain relievers, iron, vitamin B12, calcium, and vitamin D.
Changes in diet and lifestyle
Your doctor may recommend a special diet given through a feeding tube or through an infusion. This aims to improve the nutritional status of Crohn’s disease sufferers in general and allow the gastrointestinal tract to rest.
This resting gastrointestinal tract aims to temporarily reduce inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. In addition, the doctor will also recommend the following dietary patterns:
- Limit fatty foods or fried foods
- Limit dairy foods such as cheese, ice cream, etc.
- Avoid fizzy drinks
- Avoid caffeine
- Limit foods high in fiber, such as legumes, whole grains, and raw vegetables
- Limit the amount of gas that can cause excess gas such as legumes and certain vegetables
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat with little but frequent patterns
- Your doctor may recommend foods high in calories, lactose-free, low in fat, low in fiber, and low in salt.
Lifestyle changes that can be made to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Avoid excessive consumption of NSAIDs. Use other alternatives such as acetaminophen if you feel pain or fever
- Quit smo**king to prevent recurrence
- Control stress levels. Stress does not directly cause Crohn’s disease, but stress can cause symptoms of Crohn’s disease to worsen.
Surgery is an option if lifestyle changes, drug therapy, or other therapies do not relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Nearly half of all Crohn’s disease sufferers will need surgery. During the surgery, the doctor will remove the part of the gastrointestinal tract that has problems and then connect both ends of the gastrointestinal tract to a healthy one.
Surgery can also be performed to close the fistula and overcome the abscess. However, the surgery was not able to cure Crohn’s disease completely.
The benefits of surgery for Crohn’s disease are usually only temporary. Crohn’s disease usually relapses, most often in the area around the surgical area. Doctors usually combine surgery with medications to reduce the chances of a recurrence afterwards.