Crohn's disease: what it is, symptoms and causes

It is estimated that one out of every 500 people suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), the group of diseases that, among other conditions, include ulcerative colitis and the Crohn's syndrome (also known medically with the name of Crohn's disease). About 550,000 people suffer from some inflammatory bowel disease in the United States, while it is believed that there are 3 or 4 new cases per 100,000 people each year.

As we see, it is a disease that increasingly affects a greater number of people, and that although it is true that it is not considered a life-threatening condition (fewer than 1,000 deaths are attributed to inflammatory bowel disease every year). ), yes it is a condition that affects the quality of life of those who suffer from it.

What is Crohn's disease?

We are facing an illness that causes swelling or inflammation and irritation anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract (or digestive tube), that is from the mouth to the anus.

But most of the time it mostly affects the ileum, which is the last portion of the small intestine. In fact, ulcerative or ulcerative colitis tends to affect especially the large intestine (which includes the colon and rectum).

The long-lasting or chronic inflammation that causes this disease causes scar tissue to form in the lining of the intestine, so that when this tissue accumulates, the duct may narrow, causing the stool or food we eat to pass. more slowly through the digestive tract, which can cause characteristic symptoms such as colic, pain and diarrhea.

It is a chronic disease that alternates periods of outbreak with others of inactivity, although the symptoms that arise and appear in each moment actually depend on each person, so that there are people who have long periods without symptoms and without treatment, and others who have severe symptoms with quite frequent exacerbations.

Causes of Crohn's disease

So far no research has been carried out has helped to know in an accurate way what are the real causes that cause the onset of Crohn's disease. Yes, a significant genetic influence has been identified, so that about 20% of people with this disease have relatives affected by this disorder.

Therefore, specialists establish a clear cause: having a relative who suffers from the disease is one of the most important risk factors for developing an inflammatory bowel disease.

On the other hand, it is also known that affected people have an immune system that tends to overreact to bacteria or viruses that reach the intestine, causing an inflammatory reaction of the intestinal walls.

There are also other factors that would influence the appearance of this disease: the habitual consumption of tobacco and daily stress.

What are your symptoms?

The truth is The symptoms of Crohn's disease may vary from person to person. However, there are common symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain: which tends to be located in the lower right part of the abdomen. It gets worse after meals and improves when going to the bathroom.
  • Diarrhea: It is not usually accompanied by blood. It is common to perform between 4 to 8 bowel movements per day.
  • Hemorrhage: that is observed when going to the bathroom or in underwear.
  • Weightloss: especially involuntary, due to diarrhea or lack of appetite.
  • Vomiting: They are not so common but equally they can occur.

As we see, we are faced with common symptoms that may or may not appear from one person to another, just as some patients may have more severe or severe symptoms compared to others.

We must also bear in mind that there are other organs that are affected by this disease. It may arise arthritis of large or small joints of arms and legs, which get worse when the buds appear. Alterations also appear in the skin, mucous membranes and eyes.

On the other hand, it is common for the person with Crohn's disease to have a greater predisposition to develop kidney stones especially due to the dehydration - mild and continuous - that occurs as a consequence of diarrhea. This article is published for informational purposes only. It can not and should not replace the consultation with a Physician. We advise you to consult your Trusted Doctor. ThemesGastrointestinal disorders

What is Crohn's Disease? (April 2021)