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Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a condition in which the intestines undergo an inflammation. Due to this disease, ulcers may form in various parts of the digestive system. The inflammation leads to an abdominal pain. The inflammation is not confined to any particular organ. It can occur in any part of the digestive system.

What are the causes of Crohn’s Disease?

There has been no specific cause identified for Crohn’s Disease. Previously, doctors used to think that taking too much threat or having a wrong diet led to Crohn’s Disease but now they know that this is not the case. The possible causes of Crohn’s Disease are as follows:

  • Passed on by Generations: Crohn’s disease is somewhat hereditary, that is, it is passed on by generations. So, genes have a role to play in the causation of this disease. But there have also been many cases in which people who have Crohn’s disease didn’t have a family member who had so.
  • Immune System: The immune system also has a role to play in the causation of the Crohn’s disease. It is deduced from a thought that the disease might be triggered due to the presence of a particular bacteria or virus.

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?

The symptoms of this disease can be mild or can be even severe. However, some of the common symptoms of the disease when it is active include diarrhea, fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, presence of blood in stool, reduction of appetite, mouth sores, fistula and loss of weight. There are some other symptoms too. These include inflammation in various parts of the body. Inflammation can occur near the eyes or even in the region of joints. Inflammation also occurs in the bile ducts and liver. In children, there is often a delay in sexual development and growth.

What are the treatment procedures for Crohn’s Disease?

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed by doctors for treating Crohn’s Disease. These include corticosteroids like budesonide and prednisone and also oral 5-aminosalicylates like Azulfidine.
  • Immune system suppressors are also prescribed and they help in reducing the inflammation. These include Azathioprine, Infliximab, mercaptopurine, adalimumab, methotrexate, vedolizumab, ustekinumab, and certolizumab pegol.
  • Antibiotics are also recommended by doctors since they have the capability of reducing fistulas and also help in activating the immune system of the digestive tract.
  • Since diarrhea like condition develops in this disease, doctors often prescribe antidiarrheals.
  • Pain relievers are given for reducing the pain.
  • Iron supplements and vitamin B-12 shots are also given.
  • In extreme conditions, surgery can be opted to remove the highly damaged portion of the digestive tract.
  • Changing the dietary habits, doing regular exercise and cutting off smoking habits are also helpful.

What are the complications of Crohn’s Disease?

  • Fistulas are one of the major complications involved with the Crohn’s disease.
  • The thickness of the intestinal wall gets altered thus leading to bowel obstruction.
  • Ulcers are also common.
  • The painful movements of bowel often lead to anal fissure. Colon cancer is also one of the complications.

Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad