Living with Crohn’s disease: Recognizing and Managing Flare-ups

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Introduction

Around 50% of Americans suffer from Crohn’s disease, including children, men, and women. Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. It makes the gastrointestinal tract enlarged, leaving one feeling unsettled and bloated. If you have Crohn’s, you could encounter flare-ups that include signs and symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight reduction, and rectal bleeding.

Crohn’s can be both painful and draining and sometimes may lead to fatal complications. While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, treatment can decrease its flare-ups. It may help one achieve long-term reduction and healing from the inflammation. With treatment, many individuals with Crohn’s disease can live an active life. Many pharmaceuticals are conducting research on this chronic condition and are trying to find treatment options. Learn more about Crohn’s Disease Research studies near you for potential treatment options.

Causes of Crohn’s Disease:

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still not understood. Long ago, diet and stress were thought to be causing Crohn’s. However, now specialists realize that these variables might exacerbate, but don’t cause the Crohn’s disease flareups. A few variables, like family history and a weak immune system, are probably involved in the occurrence of this disease.

Immune system:

It’s believed that a virus or bacterium might cause Crohn’s disease. However, researchers still can’t confirm such a trigger. Whenever your immune system attempts to fight back the attacking microorganism, a strange reaction makes the immune system attack the cells in the gastrointestinal system, as well.

Family History:

Crohn’s can be seen in individuals who have relatives suffering from the same disease, so family history plays a role and makes one susceptible to the condition. Be that as it may, a great many people with Crohn’s disease don’t have a family background of this gastrointestinal condition.

Risk factors of Crohn’s Disease:

Risk factors for Crohn’s disease may include:

  • Heredity: People, who have any relative suffering from the same disease in the family are at higher risk, such as a parent, sibling, or child. As many as 1 out of 5 people with Crohn’s disease have a family member with the disease.
  • Age: Crohn’s disease occurrence is not restricted to any age, but you’re most likely to get the infection when you’re young. Most people are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease way before they’re around 30 years old.
  • Race: Although Crohn’s disease can affect any racial group, Caucasians are at greater risk, especially people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent. Nevertheless, the incidence of Crohn’s has increased among African Americans who reside in North America and the United Kingdom.
  • Cigarette smoking: The most important controllable risk factor for developing Crohn’s disease. Smoking can also lead to more severe conditions. On the off chance that you smoke, it’s important to stop.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve), diclofenac sodium, and many others. They can lead to inflammation of the bowel which can aggravate Crohn’s disease flareups.

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Crohn’s Disease Flare-Ups:

Crohn’s disease flare-ups can go from mild to severe. For the most part, they grow step by step. But at times, Crohn’s flare-ups begin abruptly. However, there will be times when you have no sign of any flare-up (remission).

Crohn’s disease can influence any part of the GI tract, from your mouth to the anus. While Crohn’s disease flareups differ from one person to another, there are a few flares of irritation of the gut brought about by Crohn’s disease.

  • Persistent Diarrhea,
  • Stomach issues and pain,
  • A sensation of incomplete bowel evacuation,
  • Constipation, which can prompt bowel obstruction,
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, and
  • Mouth sores.

Occasionally such flareups are mistaken with those of another condition, for example, food contamination, an upset stomach, or an allergy. You should see your physician if any of these symptoms persist.

The symptoms deteriorate as the condition progresses. Severe Crohn’s disease includes symptoms like:

  • Inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints,
  • A perianal fistula, which causes pain and drainage around your anus,
  • Kidney stones,
  • Rectal bleeding,
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts,
  • Shortness of breath and decreased ability to exercise due to iron deficiency (Anemia), and
  • Delayed growth or sexual turn of events, in youngsters.

Complications due to Crohn’s disease:

Crohn’s disease leads to one or more of the following complications:

  • Ulcers: Chronic inflammation can lead to ulcers anywhere in your gastrointestinal tract, including your mouth and anus, and in the genital region (perineum).
  • Bowel obstruction: Crohn’s disease can affect the whole thickness of the intestinal wall. In the long run, parts of the bowel can scar and become restricted, which might impede the flow of digestive contents. You may need to undergo surgery to eliminate the diseased portion of your bowel.
  • Fistulas: Often times ulcers can extend completely through the intestinal wall, making a fistula — an unusual association between various parts of the body. Fistulas around the anal area are the most well-known of a kind. Sometimes. A fistula gets infected and forms an abscess, which if not treated can be life-threatening.
  • Malnutrition: Diarrhea, abdominal pain, and cramping may make it difficult to eat or for the intestine to absorb enough nutrients to keep you healthy. You might develop anemia due to iron and vitamin B12 deficiency because of the disease.
  • Other health problems: Many other complications have been seen in people with Crohn’s. Such as anemia, skin diseases, osteoporosis, arthritis, and gallbladder or liver disease.
  • Medication risks: Crohn’s disease drugs act by blocking functions of the immune system that are associated with a small risk of developing cancers such as lymphoma and skin cancers. They also increase the risk of infection.
    Corticosteroids are believed to be associated with a risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, and hypertension, among other conditions.
  • Blood clots: Crohn’s disease increases the risk of blood clots in vessels.

Management of Flare-Ups:

Treatment for Crohn’s disease flare-ups varies on the cause of the disease and severity of the condition. The main goal of treatment is to induce remission (the time between symptom flare-ups), maintain remission, and manage any complications of Crohn’s disease over time.

Your physician may recommend one or more of these treatments for Crohn’s disease:

  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can prevent or treat infections. 
  • Antidiarrheal medication: Prescription medications like loperamide can stop severe diarrhea.
  • Bowel rest: To give your intestines a chance to heal, your doctor might recommend going without food or drink (NPO) for several days or longer. You may receive intravenous (parenteral) nutrition or be asked to drink only prescribed liquid or have a feeding tube all this time.
  • Corticosteroids: Cortisone, prednisone and other corticosteroids ease inflammation brought on by the autoimmune disease.
  • Immunomodulators: They include azathioprine and cyclosporine. These drugs decrease inflammation by suppressing an overactive immune system. 
  • Surgery: Surgery wouldn’t cure Crohn’s disease, but it can treat complications. You may need to undergo surgery to correct intestinal perforations, blockages, or bleeding.

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Takeaway:

To sum it up, most people with Crohn’s disease can enjoy healthy, active lives. While there isn’t a specific cure for Crohn’s disease, treatments and lifestyle changes can keep the disease in remission and prevent complications. There is multiple Clinical Research near you in Michigan that are conducting clinical trials that may be able to help you and countless others suffering from this condition. Keeping up with your treatment regimen, healthy lifestyle changes, and staying away from triggers can help you manage this condition.

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