Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disorder whose exact cause is unknown. A person’s genes, environmental factors, or the way a person’s body overreacts to normal bacteria may cause Crohn’s disease. With autoimmune disorders, your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. Crohn’s disease usually affects the intestines, but it may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum.
Patients who suffer from Crohn’s disease have chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which causes the intestinal wall to become thick. Crohn’s is accompanied by a number of symptoms, including cramps in the abdomen, fatigue, fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and persistent diarrhea. However, what symptoms a patient experience varies depending on what part of the gastrointestinal tract is affect. All symptoms range from mild to severe and can come and go.
A physical examination can help diagnose if you are suffering from an abdominal mass or tenderness, skin rash, swollen joints or mouth ulcers. If any of these are discovered, there are a number of common tests that can be run to determine whether you may have Crohn’s disease. A colonoscopy, endoscopy, enteroscopy, or MRI are all options for testing for Crohn’s disease.
Diet and nutrition play a large part in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. To ease the discomfort of the symptoms, it is best to eat small amount of food throughout the day, drink lots of water, avoid high-fiber and fatty foods, and limit your intake of dairy. Minimizing stress will also help reduce symptoms. If your symptoms worsen, discuss them with Dr. Saracino to find out if you may be in need of more serious treatment, such as medication or surgery.