Crohn’s disease is an ongoing (chronic) condition that causes the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to become inflamed. While the stomach may be affected, Crohn’s goes beyond this area of GI tract. Inflammation may also occur in the:
The disease is an autoimmune reaction to normal substances in the gut (like bacteria and food) that the immune system mistakes for foreign invaders and is compelled to “attack.” Another possible culprit is thought to be proteins produced by the immune system.
|The main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
Because Crohn’s disease involves the immune system, you also may have symptoms outside the digestive tract. These may include joint pain, eye problems, a skin rash, or liver disease.
There are various aspects for treatment and management of Crohn’s disease- diet, exercise, stress, medication and surgery.
Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet. Include enough calories, protein, and nutrients from a variety of food groups.
To help ease symptoms, try:
- Eating small amounts of food throughout the day.
- Drinking lots of water (drink small amounts often throughout the day).
- Avoiding high-fiber foods (bran, beans, nuts, seeds, and popcorn).
- Avoiding fatty, greasy or fried foods and sauces (butter, margarine, and heavy cream).
- Limiting dairy products if you have problems digesting dairy fats. Try low-lactose cheeses, such as Swiss and cheddar, and an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, to help break down lactose.
- Avoiding foods that you know cause gas, such as beans.
Ask your doctor about extra vitamins and minerals you may need, such as:
- Iron supplements (if you are anemic)
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements to help keep your bones strong
- Vitamin B12 to prevent anemia
When stressed, the normal digestive process changes. The stomach empties more slowly and secretes more acid. Stress can also speed or slow the passage of intestinal contents. It may also cause changes in intestinal tissue itself. Although it’s not always possible to avoid stress. Mild exercise can help reduce stress, relieve depression and normalize bowel function. One way to cope with stress is to regularly relax and use techniques such as deep, slow breathing to calm down.
In one Canadian study, researchers found that taking a walk for as little as 30 minutes three days a week increased well-being and quality of life in people with mild Crohn’s disease. In general, low-impact exercises such as walking and swimming are good options, particularly if you have arthritis, which affects as many as 25 percent of people with Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. If your anal area is tender or irritated from Crohn’s symptoms, some activities may be uncomfortable, such as bicycling or horseback riding. This is when swimming or other low-impact aerobic activities may be better options.
If you want to try weight training, or strength training. Ask your doctor if these types of activities would be good for you to rebuild muscles weakened by illness and medications.
Medication & Surgery
Always talk to your doctor or nurse before using drugs for treatment. Some people with Crohn’s disease may need surgery to remove a damaged or diseased part of the intestine. In some cases, the entire large intestine is removed, with or without the rectum.
Although Crohn’s disease cannot be cured even with surgery, treatment can offer significant help to most patients.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.