Things to Watch For When It Comes to This Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that can cause inflammation and irritation in different parts of the digestive tract. While the exact cause of the disease is not known, it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors.
Early detection and treatment of Crohn's disease can help prevent complications and improve quality of life. In this article, we will discuss some of the early signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease, how to get a diagnosis and what treatment options are available.
Early Signs and Symptoms
There are many early signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease. Here are the ones to watch for.
1. Abdominal Pain and Cramping
Abdominal pain and cramping are among the most common early signs of Crohn's disease. The pain is often described as a sharp, crampy sensation that may occur in different areas of the abdomen.
Chronic diarrhea is another common symptom of Crohn's disease. The stools may be loose, watery and may contain mucus or blood.
Many people with Crohn's disease experience fatigue, which can be caused by the digestive tract's inflammation or the body's response to the disease.
4. Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss is another early sign of Crohn's disease. Weight loss can be caused by the loss of appetite or by the body's inability to absorb nutrients from food due to inflammation in the digestive tract.
5. Rectal Bleeding
Rectal bleeding is a common symptom of Crohn's disease. The bleeding may be bright red or dark and may be seen in the stool or on toilet paper.
6. Reduced Appetite
Reduced appetite is another early sign of Crohn's disease. This can be caused by the digestive tract's inflammation or the body's response to the disease.
7. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms of Crohn's disease. These symptoms can be caused by the digestive tract's inflammation or the body's response to the disease.
8. Joint Pain
Joint pain and swelling are common symptoms of Crohn's disease. These symptoms can be caused by the digestive tract's inflammation or the body's response to the disease.
9. Skin Problems
People with Crohn's disease may experience skin problems like red, tender bumps or sores.
10. Eye Problems
Eye problems, such as redness, pain or blurred vision, can be a sign of Crohn's disease.
If you are experiencing any of the previously mentioned symptoms, it is important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor may perform some of the following tests as part of the diagnostic process.
By doing a thorough physical exam, your doctor can pinpoint areas of pain and discomfort and rule out other possible diagnoses.
Your doctor may suggest blood tests be drawn to check for anemia, levels of inflammation, liver function or signs of infection.
You may need to provide a stool sample so that it can be tested for hidden (occult) blood or organisms.
This is a common diagnostic test used for bowel-related issues. It allows a view of your entire colon, and the very end of your small intestine by using a fiber optic camera. It also allows your doctor to take small samples of your tissue for laboratory analysis.
This test uses a series of X-rays taken from different angles to examine the entire bowel and the surrounding tissues. If paired with drinking an oral contrast material, then intravenous images of the intestines can be obtained.
This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create images of organs and tissues with more detail than a CT scan provides.
Once you have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, there are several treatment options available. The goals of treatment are to reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms and prevent complications. Some common treatments for Crohn's disease include the following.
Medications, such as anti-inflammatory drugs, immune system suppressors and antibiotics, can be used to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms.
Nutritional therapy can be used to help manage Crohn's disease by providing the body with the nutrients it needs to heal and function properly.
Surgery may be necessary in some cases to remove damaged or diseased portions of the digestive tract.
Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, reducing stress and eating a healthy diet, can help manage symptoms and prevent complications.
Early detection and treatment of Crohn’s disease are important for preventing complications and can help to improve quality of life. If you are experiencing any of the early signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease, you must see a doctor. Once a diagnosis is made, possible treatment options can be properly discussed. Many people with Crohn’s disease can live a healthy and fulfilling life with the right treatment and management.