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Crohn's disease: what it is and how it is treated

Crohn's disease: what it is and how it is treated


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The Crohn's disease it is an inflammatory bowel disease capable of causing inflammation of the entire thickness of the intestinal wall, in every part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum. In this it is therefore distinguished from ulcerative colitis, which is instead inflammation of the inner lining of the large intestine alone.

The problem usually occurs between 15 and 30 years of age, but patients who are younger (Crohn's disease is becoming increasingly common in children under nine) or older are certainly not uncommon.

There are several treatments available to manage the symptoms of the disease, and people who are affected by the condition manage to lead normal lives most of the time.

Effects of Crohn's disease

Each person responds differently to Crohn's disease, the severity of which symptoms vary from time to time and from person to person. The disease is not a progressive disease (it does not necessarily get worse over time), and some people also experience periods of symptom relief between one attack and another.

It is also not possible to predict how long a person will be free of the most bothersome symptoms, or when the next inflammation will occur.

Symptoms of Crohn's Disease

The Crohn's disease it can interfere with a person's normal bodily functions. The main and most common symptoms may include:

  • pain in the abdomen,
  • weight loss,
  • diarrhea (sometimes with blood and mucus),
  • exhaustion,
  • constipation,
  • malnutrition,
  • nausea,
  • retarded or impaired growth in children.

Read also: Addison's disease, definition, causes and symptoms

Causes of Crohn's disease

The causes of this disease are unknown. Some scientists believe the determinant could be a defect of the immune system of the organism. Infection with a bacterium or virus could also be involved in the process, while researchers tend to exclude that stress or particular diets can cause this condition.

Crohn's disease it is not contagious.

Crohn's disease diagnosis

Doctors use a variety of tests to correctly diagnose the disease. The main ones include blood tests, fecal tests, x-rays, colonoscopy and gastroscopy. In some cases, computed tomography, MRI, and ultrasound may be required by the specialist.

Crohn's disease treatment

The typology of treatment of Crohn's disease it depends on many factors, and the therapy cannot be carefully evaluated in the company of your referral specialist.

Some treatments could for example include:

  • medications to reduce the chances of flare-ups,
  • steroid drugs (cortisone),
  • drugs to reduce the activity of the immune system,
  • corrective surgery for complications.

Diet for Crohn's disease

As we mentioned a few lines ago, diet and food allergies do not cause Crohn's disease, and long-term "special" diets are not effective in treating the condition. However, adjusting your diet can help you manage some of the symptoms, and can help medications work better on your body.

But how can Crohn's disease interfere with one's health and, in particular, with food intake?

To understand this, it is useful to remember how our gastrointestinal system "works". The mouth and stomach in fact destroy food by mechanical and chemical means. When the food has reached a consistency similar to the "pulp", it is in fact slowly released in the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). The food is then processed along the length of the small intestine, and organs such as the pancreas and gallbladder use digestive enzymes to further break down the food into its simpler components.

That said, note how the small intestine is lined with microscopic projections, the villi, which are located near small blood vessels (capillaries). The nutrients pass into the bloodstream through these villi, while the rest of the food is pushed into the large intestine, which absorbs excess water. The waste is then temporarily stored in the colon before being eliminated through the rectum.

With the above clarified, it may be easier to understand how Crohn's disease can interfere with i digestion processes and of absorption.

In particular, in Crohn's disease, an inflamed ileus hinders (reduces) the absorption of vitamin B12 and bile salts. Inflammation along the length of the small intestine impairs the absorption of all food nutrients. Inflammation of the large intestine hinders the absorption of water, causing diarrhea.

However, other factors may also affect or influence one's nutritional intake. Consider, for example, medicines: some drugs used to treat Crohn's disease can in fact reduce appetite and interfere with the absorption of some nutrients, such as folic acid. Again, states of inflammation: your body in fact needs greater quantities of nutrients to cope with the inflammation and fever that may arise. Or, note how some people suffering from Crohn's disease need surgery to remove parts of their small intestine, and how this condition can only reduce the absorption of nutrients.

At this point, if you wish to have more information on this condition, we can only advise you to talk to your referring doctor, in order to understand what your symptoms are and which tests to perform in order to ascertain or not the emergence of this condition. condition. Once this is done, it will be much easier to look for the right treatment for your health, and therefore to find the best wellness in the right times and in the right ways.


Video: What is the best diet for Crohns disease? (May 2022).