If you’re dealing with Crohn’s disease, you know how uncomfortable and frustrating it can be. This type of bowel disease (IBD) can cause inflammation in your digestive tract, leading to symptoms like constipation, abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and blood or mucus in stools.
Unfortunately, these issues are not just restricted to your digestive system. But can also affect various other organs of your body. If you or any of your loved ones have fallen victim to this painful illness, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider right away.
They can help you find the most effective treatment plan and offer you the care and encouragement you need to manage your condition.
With the right care, you can minimize your symptoms and get back to feeling like yourself again. Keep reading to learn more about this disease, its triggers, and ways of management.
What is Crohn’s Disease Exactly?
Crohn’s disease, also characterized as regional enteritis, is a long-term inflammatory bowel condition that results in chronic inflammation and irritation in an individual’s gastrointestinal tract. It usually becomes a reason for severe pain and swelling that can affect almost every part of your digestive tract.
Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease Poop
During the onset of this illness, one may experience the following symptoms:
- Watery stools
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Blood in the stool
- Mouth sores
- Reduced appetite and significant weight loss
- Pain, cramping, or drainage around the anus
Causes of Crohn’s Disease
There are various potential factors that may increase the likelihood of developing Crohn’s disease, although the root cause of this condition is still uncertain.
- Autoimmune Disease: Due to such conditions, the bacteria in the digestive system may trigger the immune system to attack healthy cells, resulting in Crohn’s disease.
- Genetics: They can also play a role, as inflammatory bowel disease tends to run in families. Certain mutations in genes can also make individuals more prone to developing Crohn’s disease.
- Smoking Cigarettes: This habit might also increase your risk of developing Crohn’s disease by up to two-fold.
Diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease
Doctors usually inquire about their patient’s symptoms and conduct a physical examination during the diagnostic procedure. Patients may also have to undergo X-rays and lab tests to determine if they have Crohn’s disease.
However, sometimes diagnosing Crohn’s disease can be challenging due to its gradual onset of symptoms and how it affects different parts of the intestine. In such cases, the most reliable way to identify this condition is through intestinal endoscopies.
They effectively help rule out any other possible illnesses like ulcerative colitis, diverticular disease, or cancer and confirm the diagnosis.
Treatments for Crohn’s Disease
Doctors may treat Crohn’s disease with a combination of medicines, bowel rest, and surgery to help ease the inflammation and manage your symptoms. But it’s important to note that what works for someone else may not work for you.
However, the primary goal of these treatments is to reduce inflammation, prevent flare-ups, and support you on your journey of recovery.
Individuals suffering from Crohn’s disease commonly require medications to manage their symptoms. The specific medication prescribed by a doctor is dependent on the symptoms experienced by the patient. Though there is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, certain medications have proven quite effective in reducing the symptoms.
If you are experiencing severe symptoms of Crohn’s disease, your doctor may suggest giving your bowel rest for a specific period of time. This could range from a few days to several weeks and involves drinking specific liquids or refraining from eating and drinking altogether.
During this phase, your doctor may administer liquid nutrients via a feeding tube inserted into your stomach or provide intravenous (IV) nutrition through a special tube in your arm.
Some patients need to stay in the hospital, while others may be able to receive treatment at home. Typically, bowel rest allows your intestines to heal properly.
Surgery can become necessary for individuals with Crohn’s disease, even if they are taking medication. However, the surgical approach cannot fully cure the disease but may alleviate symptoms. Various types of surgery are available to treat different aspects of Crohn’s disease.
Sometimes, during surgery, doctors have to remove a damaged part of your digestive tract in order to treat issues like fistulas, bleeding, blockages in the intestines, and adverse reactions to medication.
Risk Factors for Crohn’s Disease
There are several factors that may increase one’s likelihood of developing Crohn’s disease. These include having a family member (such as a parent, child, or sibling) with the disease, smoking, taking certain medications, and consuming a high-fat diet.
While these factors may not guarantee the development of Crohn’s, they may slightly or significantly increase the risk.
Ulcerative Colitis vs Crohn’s Disease
If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease, it’s essential to assess the changes in your stool. These changes can include differences in color, frequency, or the presence of blood in mucus.
If you notice any of these, speaking with your healthcare provider becomes extremely important in order to determine the most appropriate treatment option.
What Does Crohn’s Disease Stool Look Like?
It’s quite common to see blood or mucus in your stool when you have Crohn’s disease. The color of the blood can range from red to black, depending on where the bleeding is occurring in your intestines.
The brighter the red, the lower the bleeding is. Mucus, on the other hand, can appear white or yellowish. It’s important to keep an eye out for these symptoms so that you can take appropriate and prompt action.
When Should You Suspect Crohn’s Disease?
If you observe any persistent changes in your bowel routines or experience any indications of Crohn’s disease, such as stomach discomfort, discharge of blood in your stool, or feelings of sickness and vomiting, it’s essential to book a consultation with your physician.
What is the Average Life Expectancy of Someone With Crohn’s Disease?
Research indicates that individuals diagnosed with Crohn’s disease can live just as long as those who do not have the condition.
Making lifestyle adjustments and dietary changes can be beneficial in controlling this illness and allowing patients to maintain a regular life expectancy.