Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that
affects about half a million adults and children in the United States. Symptoms
involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and commonly include persistent
diarrhea. People living with Crohn’s disease may feel embarrassed about the
symptoms and stressed when they strike. There is not yet a cure for Crohn’s
disease, but symptoms can be managed effectively. One way to feel more in
control is to understand some key facts about the disease.
What You Learn About Crohn’s Disease Can Help You Cope https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/1491x997%2B1%2B0/resize/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fa4%2Fac%2F0d1a31814200975a7ad4d73abe0b%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-gettyimages-185283187.jpg
Most people are diagnosed with Crohn’s disease before
they’re 30 years old. About 20 to 30% of people living with Crohn’s disease
were diagnosed before they reached age 20. There is not yet a cure for Crohn’s
disease, but your doctor can develop a treatment plan to help you manage symptoms.
Symptoms may change over time, and you may experience periods of remission
where you have no symptoms at all. Always consult with your doctor about symptoms
when you experience them.
1. Crohn’s disease is a young person’s condition that lasts a lifetime. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fb9%2F84%2Fc4f1a27c4b87b9dc3f0399b7d300%2Fimage-young-woman-smiling-at-desk.jpg
At one time, diet was thought to cause Crohn’s disease, but
the actual cause is still not known. The latest thinking is that the cause may
be a combination of inherited genes and a faulty immune system response. If you’re
living with Crohn’s disease, and your symptoms flare up when you eat certain
things, keep a food diary to share with your doctor and ask for suggestions. Some
people see their symptoms improve when they limit fiber, dairy or fat.
2. Diet doesn’t cause Crohn’s disease. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fae%2Fa1%2Fd58b873147fba8a559293b02a1ad%2Fimage-gettyimages-170224219.jpg
The GI tract connects all the organs in the human body that
digest food and process waste. The tract includes the esophagus, stomach, small
intestine, large intestine, and colon. Crohn’s disease most commonly affects
the lower part of the small intestine. But it can affect any part of the GI
tract, impacting some areas and bypassing others. Your doctor may use procedures,
such as a colonoscopy, to get a detailed view of any affected areas in your GI
3. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract, from one end to the other. https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580x388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F8e%2Fec%2Fabe261c5405497712e0142822da3%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-getty-478187587.jpg
The symptoms most people with Crohn’s disease experience are
a sense of urgency to have a bowel movement, diarrhea, and painful abdominal
cramping. Some people also develop complications outside of the GI tract and
have symptoms in other parts of their bodies. These symptoms may include red,
inflamed eyes; joint soreness or pain; skin rashes or sores; kidney stones; and
osteoporosis. Be aware of these complications and share any symptoms you
experience with your doctor.
4. Crohn’s disease can affect areas outside of the GI tract, from your eyes to your bones.