Named for medical
researcher Burrill Bernard Crohn in the early 20th century, Crohn's
disease is one of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).
colitis, for which it is commonly mistaken, Crohn's disease causes
chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. However, Crohn's disease
is generally more pervasive, and can effect not only the large intestine
but the entire digestive tract.
is no known cure for Crohn's disease, there are drug therapies and
special diets available to help reduce symptoms.
appear slowly over time, or arise without warning. They commonly
include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea or constipation, bloody
stools, ulcers, nausea or vomiting, reduced appetite, and resulting
The causes of
Crohn's disease are still unknown, although medical studies suggest
that a certain bacterium may trigger the condition. Researchers
also point to a possible immune response to the bacterium that causes
some people and not others to develop symptoms. Factors such as
stress or diet may also play a pivotal role, especially in urban
areas where the disease is most commonly diagnosed.
disease may begin with a simple blood test to check for signs of
infection,or may include more invasive techniques such as colonoscopy,
flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, or special x-ray techniques.
Crohn's disease can affect any part of the
gastrointestinal tract but most commonly
occurs in the ileum, where the
and large intestine meet.
Treating Crohn's disease
involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to treat the most painful
Certain medications such as sulfasalazine (the
most traditional treatment) as well as mesalamine, steroid drugs,
and immunosuppressants all carry the risk of certain side effects
that should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor.
Over the counter
medications such as Metamucil or Citracel may also be recommended
for symptoms of diarrhea. Laxatives for constipation, or acetaminophen
for pain relief may also be prescribed.
If bloody stools or rectal
bleeding occurs, iron supplements
may be given for symptoms of anemia.
Diet also plays an important role in reducing symptoms, and experts
usually recommend low fat foods and avoidance of foods likely to
cause gas - such as raw vegetables, beans, cabbage or broccoli,
as well as citrus fruits, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, coffee
and alcohol. Limiting the use of milk and other dairy products also
helps many sufferers with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas who
may be lactose
of stress has been recently discounted as a root cause of Crohn's
disease, it commonly worsens the condition by triggering a flare-up
of symptoms, so proper exercise and stress-relieving techniques
also play an important part in self care.
the Web, find out more about the condition at sites offering comprehensive
expert information, treatment options and recommended foods and
diet, along with helpful support and the how to's of diet, stress
relief, and self care found in patient forums and discussion boards
More about Crohn's disease around the Web:
Crohn's Disease - Brief overview with facts on causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and related links to more information.
Disease - Wikipedia - Check out information
on causes, symptoms and treatment, surgery, risks & complications,
with more on medications in development, pictures & illustrations,
references and related links to U.S. and international organizations,
online communities & support groups.
Crohn's Disease - Diet
& Nutrition - Guidelines from the Crohn's & Colitis
Foundation of America with information on food absorption, what
foods patients should avoid, how to avoid cramping after meals,
advice on nutritional supplements.
Zone - UK community offering facts, information and advice
on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis including feature articles,
busy forum, related links, book reviews & suggested reading.
is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.