Crohn's Disease... Say What?

The impact on the Digestive System

Crohn's Disease is an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). What are IBD?

Inflammatory Bowel Diseases consist of intestinal disorders that cause long lasting inflammation in the digestive tract. These disease often cause a lot of pain and can disrupt the digestive tract even to a life-threatening situation. Interestingly, the cause of an IBD is unknown, but it is often associated with genetics and the immune system. IBD is considered hereditary, you are more likely to get if your parents or siblings have the disease. In the digestive tract, the immune response to an infection is through inflammation, but in the case of a person with IBD, there will be inflammation with no present infection. In essence, the body is attacking its own body cells. One of the most important risk factors of IBD is smoking and in urban areas where people eat more fat and processed foods.

So what is Crohn's Disease?

Basically, Crohn's Disease is a chronic inflammatory condition in the gastrointestinal tract. The various types of Crohn's Disease depend on the location of the inflammation:


  • Ileocolitis (affects the end of the small intestine (ileum) and the beginning of the large intestine(colon))
  • Ileitis (affects ileum)
  • Gastroduodenal (affects stomach and beginning of ileum)
  • Jejunoileitis (affects upper part of small intestine)
  • Crohn's (Granulomatous) Colitis (affects colon)


Crohn's Disease could also develop something called a fistula. A fistula is a fibrous structures that connect the intestine to the skin, bladder, and /or vagina. This causes another disease that could further damage the gastrointestinal tract.


Crohn's Disease is most often treated in people from ages 15-35. Some symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation


This disease not only damages the gastrointestinal tract, it prevents nutrient absorption in some areas of the intestine and also obstructs the passage of food through the tract. There is no known cure for the disease, but therapies that could suppress its effects for a long period of time.

Arjun Sree Manoj

Current senior high school student studying at the American School Foundation of Monterrey, Mexico.

References:

-Crohn's & Colitis. (n.d.). Retrieved February 8, 2016, from http://www.ccfa.org/what-are-crohns-and-colitis/what-is-crohns-disease/?referrer=https://www.google.com/


-Crohn's Disease [Digital image]. (n.d.). Retrieved February 10, 2016, from https://www.crohnsandcolitis.com.au/about-crohns-colitis/


-Gastroenterology Associates. (2014, September 16). Inflammatory Bowel Disease [Digital image]. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.dhcla.com/blog/what-is-crohns-disease


-Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2012). Crohn's Disease: Introduction [PDF]. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.


-Longstreth, G. F. (2012, October 29). Crohn's Disease [Fistula]. Retrieved February 10, 2016, from http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/crohns-disease/overview.html


-Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, August 13). Crohn's disease. Retrieved February 11, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/crohns-disease/basics/definition/con-20032061


-The Healthline Editorial Team. (2015, November 13). Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Retrieved February 8, 2016, from http://www.healthline.com/health/inflammatory-bowel-disease#RiskFactors4