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What is Crohn's Disease? Its Symptoms and How to Overcome it

Crohn's disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system, which most often affects the ileum or large intestine. Ileum is the last part of the small intestine. Its main function is for the absorption of fatty acids, glycerol, vitamin B12, and other bile salts. Ileum also releases hormones and enzymes to break down carbohydrates and proteins.

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The function of the large intestine is to get rid of bacteria, waste, and food residues whose nutrients have been absorbed by the body. Because of this function, Crohn's disease can cause other conditions related to the digestive system.

What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

Most symptoms of Crohn's disease occur in the digestive tract, although they can cause symptoms in other parts. The most common symptoms are:

  • Diarrhea.
  • Mild fever and fatigue due to inflammation or infection.
  • Abdominal pain and cramps are caused by inflammation and injury to the digestive tract. Cramps can cause diarrhea and discomfort, including nausea and vomiting.
  • Blood in your stool.
  • Anemia , a condition in which the body has fewer red blood cells than usual.
  • Mouth mouth because of ulcer in the mouth.
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss due to cramps, abdominal pain, and inflammation that reduce your body's ability to digest food.
  • Perianal disease , pain or discharge near or around the anus due to inflammation of the channels into the skin (fistula).
  • Inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints.
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts.
  • Skin changes such as redness, soft bumps under the skin.
  • Growth or seexual development is delayed in children

Symptoms experienced by a person can vary depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs.

In the early stages, Crohn's disease causes erosion in the intestinal wall. This erosion gradually enlarges and deepens to form a boil. This boil can cause scarring and stiffness in the intestine, eventually narrowing the intestine and causing holes in the intestinal wall. Bacteria can spread from the intestine through holes to other organs and around the abdominal cavity.

When the intestines narrow, this can inhibit the flow of food and fluids. Gastrointestinal symptoms are delayed and severe abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and abdominal distension occur.

What causes Crohn's disease?

The exact cause of Crohn's disease is unknown. However, research shows a combination of factors may be influential, including:


  • Genetics. People with family members who also have this condition are more likely to develop Crohn's disease.
  • Immune system or previous infection. Bacteria or viruses can cause this disease. The immune system fights against incoming bacteria or viruses and may attack cells due to an abnormality.

What are the factors that trigger my risk of developing Crohn's disease?

Risk factors for Crohn's disease can include:

  • Age. Crohn's disease can occur at any age, but most cases of Crohn's disease are diagnosed before age 30.
  • Ethnicity. Europeans are more likely to develop Crohn's disease from other ethnicities.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs). These medications cause inflammation of the intestine which makes Crohn's disease worse.
  • Smoke. Smokers usually have more severe symptoms than non-smokers.
  • Certain foods. Some foods are thought to trigger Crohn's disease.

How is Crohn's disease diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine your family's condition and history to determine Crohn's disease. They may ask for some test labs such as:

  • Upper GI series : You will drink a mixture of barium and water. The doctor can see the flow of this fluid through the intestine and use x-ray photos to see it.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scan : This is a test that provides a more detailed picture in many plain X-ray angles.
  • Intestinal endoscopy or intestinal endoscopy:  A thin and flexible tube is inserted into your stomach so the doctor can see the wall lining.
  • Blood test: This test is designed to look for changes in red blood cells and white blood cells.
  • Stool test: This test is usually used to rule out possible causes of other digestive disorders.

What is the treatment of Crohn's disease?

There is no cure for Crohn's disease. Treatment usually includes medication or surgery. Usually, you will be given medicine only to control this disease.

Anti-inflammatory drugs

Aminosalicylates are drugs that contain 5-aminosalicyclic acid (5-ASA), which helps control inflammation. Aminosalicylates include:

  • Balsalazide
  • Mesalamine
  • Olsalazine
  • Sulfasalazin

Corticosteroids are prescribed for people with moderate to severe symptoms. In most cases, your doctor may not prescribe corticksteroids for long-term use.

Corticosteroids including:

  • Budesonide
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Methylprednisone
  • Prednisone.

Immune system suppressors, also known as immunomodulators, are used to reduce the activity of the immune system, which reduces inflammation in the digestive tract. These medicines can take several weeks to 3 months to start working. Immunomodulators include

  • 6-mercaptopurine, or 6-MP
  • Azathioprine
  • Cyclosporine
  • Methotrexate

Biological therapy is drugs that target proteins made by the immune system. Neutralize protein reduces inflammation in the intestine. Biological therapy works quickly to bring remission, especially in people who do not respond to other treatments. Biological therapy is included

  • Adalimumab
  • Certolizumab
  • Infliximab
  • Natalizumab
  • Vedolizumab.

You may also need other medications to control or treat symptoms of Crohn's disease.

  • Anti-diarrheals: psyllium powder (Metamucil) atau methylcellulose (Citrucel), loperamide (Imodium).
  • Penghilang rasa sakit: acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox).
  • Iron supplements
  • Vitamin B-12 shots.
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Operation

If the medication does not reduce symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery. More than 20% of people with Crohn's disease need surgery. Surgery does not cure Crohn's disease, but can treat other conditions caused by it. Operations are often a temporary solution.

During surgery, the surgeon removes the damaged part of the intestine, such as fistula and intestinal obstruction, or to drain the abscess, or to expand the part of the intestine that is too narrow.

What food do I need to avoid?

Many people with Crohn's disease report that they find one or more foods that often trigger Crohn's disease and make symptoms worse. Some common foods include:

  • Alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine)
  • Butter, mayonnaise, margarine, oil
  • Soft drink
  • Coffee, tea, chocolate
  • Dairy products (if lactose is intolerant)
  • Fatty foods
  • Foods high in fiber
  • Gas-producing foods (lentils, beans, cabbage, broccoli, onions)
  • Nuts and seeds (peanut butter, other peanut butter)
  • Raw fruit
  • Raw vegetables
  • Red meat and pork
  • Spicy food
  • Grains and bran.

To ensure Crohn's disease is controlled and prevents relapse, you need to combine treatment and surgery. Before you use any medication or decide to do surgery, ask your doctor about complications and side effects before you make a decision. You must tell your doctor about the medicines or supplements you are using.