Crohns disease is a chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract. It is one type of inflammatory bowel disease. The hallmarks of Crohns disease are swelling of the gastrointestinal tract, abdominal pain and frequent diarrhoea. Crohns disease can seriously affect a person’s ability to participate in normal activities of daily living and can lead to serious complication.
Crohns disease can affect any area of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. This includes the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, and rectum. Crohns disease most commonly affects the ileum, the lower portion of the small intestine.
The exact cause of Crohns disease is unknown, but researchers believe it may be due to abnormal response of the immune system to an infection or to food and other substances in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohns disease may also have a genetic component, and it can run in families. Common causes include:
• Food allergies
• Family history
Symptoms of Crohns disease can run from mild to severe. Symptoms are due to the chronic inflammation of the GI tract. Early stages may have milder symptoms like fever, joint pain, eye pain, mouth ulcers, and skin rashes. General symptoms are:
• Abdominal pain, cramps, swelling and tenderness.
• Gastrointestinal and rectal bleeding
• Stomach ulcers
• Weight loss
There is no cure for Crohns disease yet, but it can be treated effectively in many people, allowing them to live normal, active lives. Treatment is aimed at minimizing symptoms and complications by reducing the inflammation of the bowel and ensuring good nutrition. Other ways of treating this condition include:
• Diet changes
• Stress reduction
• Immune suppressive.