Crohn's disease (CD) is an inflammatory bowel disease.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is the general term for inflammation diseases of the small intestine and colon. Ulcerative colitis (UC) is another form of IBD.
In Crohn's disease, the inflammation is generally in the lower part of the small intestine. But CD can also affect the entire digestive system from mouth to anus. Colitis, on the other hand, usually only occurs in the lower colon or rectum.
Crohn's Disease Symptoms and Complications
The range and severity of Crohn's disease symptoms can vary. This makes CD complicated to diagnose. However, the most common symptoms are:
o Abdominal pain, generally in the lower right area,
o With the pain being accompanied by diarrhea.
Other common Crohn's disease symptoms are:
o Rectal bleeding,
o Weight loss,
o Skin problems,
o And fever.
Persistent rectal bleeding is serious and can lead to anemia. Children with CD often suffer from malnutrition, delayed development and even stunted growth.
The most common Crohn's disease complications are:
o Blockage and narrowing of the intestine from inflammation and scar tissue;
o Sores or ulcers in the bladder, vagina or skin that often become infected;
o Small tears called fissures, which develop in the lining of the anus;
o Nutritional deficiencies caused by poor diet, loss of nutrients or mal-absorption;
o Arthritis, skin problems, inflammation of the eyes or mouth, kidney stones, gallstones and development of diseases of the liver and biliary system.
Who Gets Crohn's Disease and Why
A tendency towards Crohn's disease often runs in families, affecting both men and women. About one out of every five CD patients has a blood relative with IBD problems, usually a brother or sister and sometimes a parent or child. Scientists are not clear if this connection is genetic or environmental, relating to diet and other family habits.
It's difficult to distinguish between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, since they both have such similar symptoms. These include:
o Abdominal pain and cramping,
o Frequent and often bloody diarrhea,
o Loss of body fluids and nutrients,
o Poor appetite, weight loss
o And persistent fatigue.
Medical tests are therefore necessary for the accurate diagnosis of an IBD.
Neither the specific cause nor cure is known for CD. Drug therapy and surgery can relieve symptoms, but do not offer any cure. Most patients are usually treated with anti-inflammatory medications, which have unpleasant and often serious side effects.
Most Crohn's Disease patients also need to avoid foods they personally find upsetting. This varies from one patient to another, but these usually include highly seasoned foods, raw fruits and vegetables and high lactose dairy products.
Natural Help for Crohn's Disease
Several recent studies reported in the Journal of Gastroenterology have shown that natural anti-inflammatory omega 3 fish oil, high in EPA, DPA and DHA fatty acids, can reduce the severity of inflammation from Chron's disease by more than 50%.
Taking fish oil also allows those suffering from the pain of inflammation from CD to discontinue potentially harmful anti-inflammatory and steroidal medications.
Because of the symptomatic loss of nutrients and dietary restrictions, natural, full spectrum food supplements, including pure, non-toxic fish oil capsules, are highly recommended to insure the nutrition necessary to stay as healthy as possible.