The digestive system is incredibly complex and complex, and while most people enjoy relatively good digestive health, some individuals experience chronic conditions such as Crohn’s Disease. It can be overwhelming to learn that you or someone you care about has Crohn’s, but understanding the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options can be helpful in immune-boosting and restoring digestive health.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect any part of the digestive tract. It often causes inflammation deep within the layers of the intestinal wall, leading to severe pain, diarrhea, and even malnutrition if left untreated. It is a chronic condition, meaning symptoms may come and go.
What Are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?
The most common symptoms of Crohn’s Disease are abdominal pain and diarrhea. Other symptoms may include:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Rectal bleeding
- Mouth sores
If any of these symptoms are present, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider.
Diagnosing Crohn’s Disease
To diagnose Crohn’s Disease, your healthcare provider may order imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan. They may also order blood tests to measure the levels of various substances in your blood, such as inflammatory markers. Your healthcare provider may also want to perform a colonoscopy or a small bowel x-ray to look for any abnormal changes in the digestive tract.
Treatment Options for Crohn’s Disease
The goal of treatment for Crohn’s Disease is to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms. Options may include:
- Dietary changes
- Medications (such as steroids, immunomodulators, and anti-inflammatory agents)
- Surgery (if medications and dietary changes don’t improve symptoms)
Your healthcare provider will develop an individualized treatment plan that is best for your specific needs.
Improving Digestive Health
Improving digestive health is an important component of living with Crohn’s Disease. Eating and nutrition will likely be a primary focus of treatment; seek out the guidance of a nutritionist if needed. Eating fewer processed foods and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help promote digestive health. Additionally, probiotics and/or supplements may be recommended to improve bacterial balance in the gut. Exercise is also helpful in improving overall health, digestive health included.
Living with Crohn’s Disease is challenging, but understanding and managing the symptoms is an important part of maintaining digestive health. The most important thing is to speak to your healthcare provider and work together to develop an individualized treatment plan to best meet your needs.