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Crohn’s Disease by Jacob Albert

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It is quite common for the average person to have days when their stomach may bother them or they may feel sick. It may be due to something that they ate, a sickness such as the stomach flu or even a little bit of anxiety that they may be dealing with.  It is only when it becomes a chronic problem, they are exhibiting unusual symptoms and when it starts to interfere with everyday life that it becomes more than just normal.  Over half a million people in the United States deal with the intestinal condition known as Crohn’s Disease. For many it is a long and tiresome battle of ups and downs. Others are able to control the disease with medication and changes in lifestyle. Crohn’s Disease occurs when there is inflammation in the digestive system. There is no certain information on the cause of this disease; but it is known that there are genetic and environmental factors that can contribute to it.

For many people the worst part of the disease is going through the process of officially being diagnosed through a number of tests, dealing with its difficult symptoms, and finding out what may or may not help them to feel better. Most of the time people start to experience symptoms such as increased diarrhea and bowel movements, weight loss, nausea, loss of appetite, anemia, lack of energy and a number of other issues. These are all signs that there is something going on with their intestinal health. Usually, they then go on to see a doctor known as a gastroenterologist. These doctors are also known as GI specialists. They specialize in dealing with issues that stem from the esophagus all the way down to the rectum.

Different tests can be run such as a colonoscopy or upper endoscopy which are camera scopings of the stomach and upper and lower intestinal areas. Biopsies can be taken during these procedures to aid diagnosis. There also are many other tests that can be run such as the small bowel x-ray, camera endoscopy capsule, and small bowel follow- through.

Treatment for Crohn’s is varied. There are a few different classes of medication that can be used to help heal and relieve symptoms. For example there are steroids such as prednisone.  Other medication options can include antibiotics, oral medications like Pentasa or Asacol or injectable biologics, such as Humira and Remicade. Other ways to help control symptoms can include diet modification and a healthy living style. It can help to see a nutritionist who can aid you in tailoring your diet so that you not only feel better but also get the appropriate nutrients. Surgery is also an option but usually only in severe circumstances and is used as a last resort.

If medication works well then people who are suffering from Crohn’s usually go into periods of remission when the disease does not control their lives and they are feeling better. These can be long periods of time.  Just as doctors do not know what causes Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis they do not know what causes periodic flare-ups of the disease despite treatments. There are many different types of intestinal issues that can affect someone and Crohn’s disease is just one of the diseases. But, with the right tests, medications, and doctor it can just be a part of your life and not control your life.


Sources:  http://www.mayoclinic.org/crohns/treatment.html



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