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CROHN’S DISEASE: SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND TREATMENT

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Crohn’s disease is one of the main inflammatory bowel diseases, and it causes inflammation of the digestive tract. As a result, this health condition often results in severe abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea, malnutrition, and weight loss. According to many studies conducted in the health field, more than 780,000 people in the United States are suffering from this inflammatory bowel disease. Usually, Crohn’s disease tends to develop in the colon as well as the small intestine of the sufferer. However, the disease is equally likely to affect any part of a person’s gastrointestinal tract or GI, between the mouth and anus.

The inflammation which occurs as a result of this health condition tends to spread deep into the affected bowel tissue layers. When it comes to the severity of Crohn’s disease, discomfort can range from the painful kind to the debilitating. Sometimes, this health issue can end up causing life-threatening complications as well.

Symptoms

The most common body areas that are affected by Crohn’s disease are the colon and the end portion of the small intestine or ileum. Usually, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease develop gradually. However, the warning signs may develop dramatically or suddenly in some rare cases. Certain symptoms may get worse over time as well. The earliest symptoms of Crohn’s disease include the following.

  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Blood in the stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Frequent need for bowel relief

Since most of these indications are common for other health issues as well, such as allergies, upset stomach, food poisoning etc, it is recommended to consult a doctor and do the necessary tests as soon as possible to rule those out. A person suffering from a severe case of Crohn’s disease may encounter the following additional signs as well.

  • Inflammation of eyes, skin, and joints
  • Retarded growth or sexual development in children
  • Inflammation of bile ducts or liver
  • A perianal fistula that results in pain at the anal area
  • Shortness of breath and worsening anemia
  • Occurrence of ulcers in the gastrointestinal tract
  • Difficulty exercising

If you noticed any of the above-listed symptoms, especially abdominal pain, unexplained fever and weight loss, diarrhea, etc, it is recommended that you consult a doctor as soon as possible.

About the Author

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Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.