What is Crohn’s Disease?

According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

What are the symptoms?

While symptoms can vary from patient to patient, these trends tend to be consistent:

What are the causes?

While the specific causes of Crohn’s are still being researched, what we do know is that there are a number of risk factors that seem to be common in those who are diagnosed.

First, Crohn’s tends to run in families, so if you have a relative with the disease, you have a 5%-20% chance of developing it as well, if you are a first-degree relative (such as a child or sibling). There are also environmental factors as well, as Crohn’s tends to be more common within the following categories:

What complications occur from Crohn’s Disease?

1. Loss of appetite

2. Weight loss

3. Low energy and fatigue

4. Delayed growth and development in children

More severe complications include:

1. Fissures are tears in the lining of the anus, which can cause pain and bleeding especially during bowel movements.

2. A fistula, caused by inflammation, is an abnormal channel that forms between one part of the intestine and another, or between the intestine and the bladder, vagina, or skin. Fistulas are most common in the anal area and require immediate medical attention.

3. A stricture is a narrowing of the intestine as a result of chronic inflammation.

Are there any other symptoms?

Yes, there are actually a number of symptoms that don’t have to do specifically with the GI tract that can indicate a Crohn’s diagnosis. They are as follows:

Redness or pain in the eyes, or vision changes

Mouth Sores

Swollen and painful joints

Skin complications such as bumps, sores, or rashes

Fever

Loss of appetite

Weight Loss

Fatigue

Night Sweats

Loss of normal menstrual cycle

Osteoporosis

Kidney Stones

Rare liver complications, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and cirrhosis

Redness or pain in the eyes, or vision changes

Swollen and painful joints

Kidney Stones

Mouth Sores

Osteoporosis

Skin complications such as bumps, sores, or rashes

Fever

Fatigue

Loss of appetite

Night Sweats

Loss of normal menstrual cycle

Weight Loss

Rare liver complications, including primary sclerosing cholangitis and cirrhosis

Are there any myths about living with Crohn’s?

Yes!

1. Crohn’s and IBS are not the same thing, though they are often confused for one another.

2. Crohn’s is not associated with personality traits.

3. Bad eating habits do not cause Crohn’s disease.

4. Crohn’s affects children, too.

5. There are many ways to reduce and manage Crohn’s symptoms.

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