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Crohn's disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of your digestive tract. This can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Crohn’s Disease varies from person to person and can involve different areas of the digestive tract.

Crohn’s disease can be both a painful and debilitating disease. Unfortunately, there is no known cure, however, treatment is available which can enable those with Crohn’s to live a relatively normal life.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s Disease can range from mild to severe and symptoms can develop both gradually and suddenly which can make it quite difficult to manage. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss

When should you see your doctor?

You should see your doctor if any of these symptoms are persistent, or if you have:

  • Blood in your poo
  • Diarrhoea for more than 7 days
  • Frequent stomach aches
  • Weight loss for no apparent reason

Your GP will then be able to carry out any tests and may refer you to a specialist.

Causes

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown. Diet and stress were previously suspected, however it is now believed that these aggravate but don’t cause Crohn’s Disease. A number of aspects may play a role in the development of the disease, such as a malfunctioning immune system and family history.

Diagnosis

Crohn’s disease is mainly diagnosed through stool samples and colonoscopies. However, due to the fact that it can be quite a difficult disease to diagnose, multiple tests are often carried out.

Treatment

There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, however, treatment can help to reduce and control symptoms. The main treatments are:

  • Medicines to reduce inflammation – usually with steroid tablets
  • Medicines to prevent the inflammation returning – usually tablets or injections
  • Surgery to remove the damaged parts of the digestive system (stoma surgery)

You can find out more information about Crohn’s Disease here.

 

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