Having to make frequent trips to the bathroom at the most inappropriate moments can be a cause for social embarrassment. This is a situation many people living with Crohn’s disease are very familiar with. It can take a heavy psychological and emotional toll on your life.
Here are the facts about Crohn’s disease to help you better cope with the condition.
Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition which causes inflammation and irritation of the bowels. Although it can occur in any part of the digestive tract, the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine are most commonly affected.
You may be at a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease if you smoke, consume a high-fat diet, take certain medications, are in your 20s, or have a family member diagnosed with the disease.
The symptoms vary greatly from person to person. Common symptoms include abdominal cramping and pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Less common symptoms include anemia, lethargy, fever, loss of appetite, and painful red bumps under your skin.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unclear; however, it may be due to an autoimmune reaction triggered by the presence of certain bacteria in your gut. There may also be genetic factors involved as the disease tends to run in families.
A diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is made by physical exam and diagnostic tests such as blood and stool tests, endoscopy, barium X-ray, and CT scan.
Medications can usually control symptoms if taken regularly. People who do not stick to their medication because of remission of symptoms usually will find themselves experiencing a flare-up of the disease. However, about two-thirds of the people with Crohn’s disease may need to have surgery at some point to relieve symptoms.
To prevent exacerbation of symptoms you should avoid carbonated drinks, popcorn, nuts, vegetable skins, and high-fiber foods; and stick to a lactose free, low fat, high calorie, low fiber, and low salt diet. Exact triggers may vary from person to person.
Greater Houston Gastroenterology is the largest full-service gastroenterology group in the Houston metropolitan area, bringing high quality, cost-effective personalized care to patients from The Woodlands and North Houston to Sugar Land, Richmond, Pearland, and Angleton. Please reach out of us if you have questions or would like additional information.