The symptoms of crohn disease (misspelled on purpose) will vary from patient to patient. Crohn's disease signs and symptoms can be mild to severe and may develop gradually or suddenly, without warning. The disease is seen more frequently in whites with the greatest frequency in Jewish population. Familial history of the disease occurs in up to 40% of cases.
So, what are the symptoms of crohn disease? First, the basics. Finally the en-depth look at the disease process. The last part uses medical terminology to better enable further research.
To understand the symptoms, it may be helpful to briefly look at where it affecting you. Note that this if difficult for a doctor to diagnose. It is virtually impossible to self diagnose with out tests. This is not to replace your doctors diagnosis. It is however to help those who have been diagnosed have a better understanding.
The symptoms of Crohn disease are all part of an inflammatory disorder that erodes the wall of the intestine. Although it can affect any part of the intestine, the ileum is the most common area where this develops.
There are similarities with ulcerative colitis, which causes inflammation and ulcers in the top layer of the lining of the large intestine. Crohn’s disease results in all layers of the intestine potentially being involved. There may be normal healthy sections of the small bowel between sections of diseased bowel.
The small intestine is considered to be three distinct sections. The upper part is called the duodenum (where both the pancreatic secretions and bile are emptied into the gut), the middle is called the jejunum and the lower part is called the ileum.
Abdominal pain and cramping that are not always relieved when the bowel is evacuated.
The progression of crohn’s disease results inflammation, ulceration, swelling and eventually a thickening scar tissue and granulomas in the intestine. These in turn construct the ability of the intestine to move the products through and process. This is the cause of the pain and cramping.
The movement in our intestines is called peristalsis. Since eating stimulates peristalsis, the pains occur after eating a meal.
In mild cases it causes slight to moderate discomfort. In more sever disease states, the pain can be severe and can include nausea and vomiting.
The resulting ulcers and inflammation cause a constant irritation. This results in a weeping discharge of large amounts of water and salt. The colon, unable to absorb the excess water, instead evacuates it, resulting in diarrhea.
Mild cases result in more frequent than usual stools and looser than usual. If the disease is sever, there may be numerous bowel movements a day. This may affect sleep and ordinary activities of daily living.
The inflammation of Crohn's disease starts as small sores on the surface of the intestine. These sores may become ulcers, they may perforate and become intra-abdominal abscesses, fistulas and fissures.
Sometimes even ulcers in the mouth that are similar to canker sores.
The inflammation may cause the ulceration to tunnel through the wall of the bowel into adjacent organs, such as the bladder or vagina. The fistula can also tunnel through the skin.
The mucous membrane is the fastest growing tissue in the body. So not only does an ulcer grow through the the bowel, it continues into the next organ and grows into an abnormal connection called a fistula.
If the fistula tunnels through the area near the anus, it is called a perianal fistula.
When a pus filed sore develops, it is called an abscess. This happens inside the abdomen.
The disease results in poor appetite, poor ability to digest and poor ability to absorb food. The pain often results in the avoidance of foods or eating less than necessary for nutritional requirements.
Malnutrition, malabsorption syndrome and secondary or macrocytic anemia are the result. Melena may also occur.
Blood in Stool The inflamed tissues of the digestive tract can bleed when food passes through or even on its own.
Typically bright red blood in the toiled bowel is from the very end of the digestive tract. When it is in the stool and much darker if is higher up. If the stool has a mahogany color then it is more serious and medical care needs to be sought urgently. Sometimes there can be bleeding but it will not be visible (called occult blood).
Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
Delayed growth or sexual development in children diagnosed
Exacerbation and remissions
Associated with ankyllosing spondylitis
Associated with the HLA antigen B27
No specific chromosomal abnormality had been identified.Research shows that genes the patient has inherited can play a role.
The Disease May be Triggered By
These foreign substances, also known as antigens may be one possible cause for inflammation. Another theory is a protein produced by the immune system, called anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF), may be a possible cause for the inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease.
There are several theories about the causes Crohn’s disease, but none have been proven.
Immunological influences have been considered as a cause because of abnormalities in humoral and call mediated immunity in those who suffer with Crohn’s. It is now known if the immune system abnormalities in people with Crohn’s disease is a cause, or a result, of the disease.
One theory is that people with Crohn’s disease have an immune system that reacts abnormally. It is thought that the body mistakes food, other substances and even natural bacteria's as foreign. As a result, the immune system attack the invaders. White blood cells accumulate in the lining of the intestines, producing chronic inflammation which leads to the ulcers and other disease related damage to the intestines.
Lymphocytotoxic antibodies have been found in people diagnosed with Crohn’s.
It is felt that there is a psychological implication. Although some have been found to be hard to please, anxious and perfectionist, others are not. Others have suggested that the psychological traits are the result of the disease.
Note: How would anyone who is suffering with persistent discomforts, frequent bowel movements, intestinal cramps, occasionally blood in the stool feel? Add to this, if it is happening all of the sudden and disappearing just as fast there might just be anxieties, discouragement, depression, and they may be hard to please.
The Signs and symptoms of crohn disease are similar to other diseases. Only your doctor can diagnose you.
There will be updates on crohns disease symptoms as new information becomes available.
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