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Crohn's Disease

One of two major Inflammatory Bowel Diseases!

Crohn's Disease

Crohn's Disease is an autoimmune disorder that can flare up within someone at any age, usually late teens and late 20s. Often described as a journey of twists and turns, is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can challenge individuals on both physical and emotional levels. Named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn, who first described the condition in 1932, it's a condition that requires resilience, understanding, and support from both patients and their loved ones

Crohn's disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel resulting in narrowing or strictures. This can lead to blockages in the bowel. It can also cause small holes in the bowel (fistula) to the skin, other organs or parts of the bowel causing a collection of pus or abscess. There is no cure and is a life-long debilitating condition. You can have little to no symptoms (remission) and times when symptoms are more active (flare-ups.) Some people will have few flare-ups while some may have a severe case of Crohn's.

Imagine your body's immune system mistaking the lining of your digestive tract for a foreign invader. This is precisely what happens in Crohn's disease. The immune system launches an attack, causing inflammation that extends deep into the layers of the intestinal wall. While it can affect any part of the digestive system from mouth to anus, it most commonly impacts the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine (colon).

Crohn's can be caused due to genetic or environmental factors and also a change in gut bacteria.

Crohn's disease manifests differently in each individual. Some may experience mild symptoms, while others face more severe challenges. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and a reduced appetite. In addition to physical symptoms, Crohn's can also take a toll on mental health, leading to anxiety and depression in some cases.

Typical symptoms include blood in your stools, changes in bowel habits (frequent diarrhoea (sometimes mucus and or blood can be present), abdomen pain, fatigue/tiredness, high temperature or fever, loss of appetite or weight loss, anemia (reduced level or red blood cells), nausea and vomiting.
Less common symptoms include skin issues, fistulas, joint pain, eye inflammation, liver inflammation and mouth ulcers.

Diagnosing Crohn's disease often involves a combination of medical history review, physical examinations, imaging tests, and endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopy and endoscopy. Once diagnosed, treatment aims to manage symptoms, reduce inflammation, and improve quality of life. Medications such as anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants, and biologics may be prescribed. In severe cases, surgery to remove damaged portions of the intestine may be necessary.

Living with Crohn's disease requires courage and resilience. It involves navigating dietary restrictions, managing medications, and coping with the unpredictability of flare-ups. Despite the challenges, many individuals with Crohn's find strength in their journey. They learn to listen to their bodies, prioritize self-care, and lean on their support networks for guidance and encouragement.

Support groups, online communities, and advocacy organizations play a crucial role in the lives of those affected by Crohn's disease. These platforms provide a space for individuals to connect with others who understand their experiences, share coping strategies, and advocate for greater awareness and research funding.

While there is currently no cure for Crohn's disease, ongoing research is paving the way for better understanding and treatment options. Advances in personalized medicine, genetics, and microbiome research offer hope for improved outcomes and a brighter future for those living with Crohn's.

Let me know if you need more information on any specific aspect!

Love and light everyone! 💜


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