What is Crohn’s Disease?
Chron’s Disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that usually affects the intestines, but it actually may happen anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus).
The symptoms depend on the part of the gastrointestinal tract that is affected. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may show up and disappear with periods of worsening.
The main symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are:
- Abdominal pain (belly area) with stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
- Painful bowel movements
- Persistent, watery diarrhoea.
- Unintentional weight loss
Other symptoms may include:
- Eye inflammation
- Joint pain
- Inflammation of the liver
- Mouth sores
- Rectal bleeding and bloody stools
- Sores (ulcers) in the skin
- Swollen gums
Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, the condition is linked to a problem with the body’s immune system answer.
Normally, the immune system helps protect the body, but in patients with Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel disease, the immune system can’t establish the difference between normal body tissue and strange substances. The result is a hyperactive immune response that leads to a chronic inflammation, called auto-immune disorder.
People with Crohn’s disease have an ongoing (chronic) inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Crohn’s disease can happen in any area of the gastrointestinal tract and can be healthy patches of tissue between diseased areas. Continued inflammation leads to thickening of the intestinal wall.
There are five different types of Crohn’s disease, depending on the part of the gastrointestinal tract that is affected. Crohn’s disease can involve the small intestine, large intestine, rectum or mouth.
A person’s genes and the environmental factors seem to play an important role in the development of Crohn’s disease. The body can being overreacting to normal bacteria in the intestines.
The disease can show up at any age, but usually occurs in people between 15 and 35 years.
- Family history of Crohn’s disease
You may feel worried, sad, embarrassed or depressed about having a bowel accident. Other stressful events in your life, such as moving, job loss or the loss of a person you love, can cause digestive problems.
Ask your doctor or nurse for advice on how to manage stress.
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