Bowel complaints can be attributed to a variety of possible causes. One of these is the chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) Crohn’s disease. What characterizes Crohn’s disease? How can the disease be detected and treated at an early stage? The intestinal self-test INTEST.pro of BIOMES can provide initial information on possible predispositions. Because in order to find out, where intestine problems come from, a thorough investigation of the micro organisms living in the intestine is usually necessary.
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that is not contagious. The disease is named after the doctor Burrill Bernard Crohn, who discovered it in the 1920s. Crohn’s disease is one of the autoimmune diseases: the intestine becomes inflamed mainly because the immune system of the person affected does not function correctly. According to current knowledge, it is not clear why this happens. The development of Crohn’s disease probably depends on many factors. For example, certain genes, environmental factors, psychological stress or the interaction of microbes and the immune system can play a role.
Crohn’s disease can affect women as well as men and can occur at any age. The disease usually occurs between the ages of 15 and 35. The inflammations caused by Crohn’s disease can occur in all parts of the digestive tract, including the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, and various parts of the intestine such as the duodenum, small intestine, and large intestine. Several areas can also be affected at the same time. Severe inflammations of the intestinal walls are often accompanied by ulcers, constrictions or fistulas. In the long run, this can affect the intestine so strongly that the digestive processes are permanently strongly impaired.
The course of bowel disease Crohn’s disease
The disease is not the same for all patients. While in some cases it begins with an acute aggravation of the symptoms, in others the disease only becomes noticeable over time. Differences also become apparent in the further course of the disease. Some patients with Crohn’s disease have regularly painful relapses with symptom-free interruptions, in other cases the symptoms last several months. If the disease progresses intermittently, the intervals at which the symptoms occur are irregular. They can last for weeks, months or even years. The same applies to the rest periods in between.
Bowel disease Crohn’s disease: possible complaints
The intestinal disease mostly manifests itself in very strong
- abdominal pain and cramps,
- severe fatigue,
- loss of appetite,
- and general malaise.
Frequent diarrhoea and loss of appetite are often accompanied by weight loss.Due to the symptoms of Crohn’s disease those affected are severely restricted in their everyday life during the acute phases. Since Crohn’s disease has similar symptoms to ulcerative colitis, it is in many cases very difficult to impossible to differentiate. Ulcerative colitis occurs exclusively in the upper layers of the colon walls and spreads throughout the entire colon.
Crohn’s disease can also be found in other parts of the intestine and penetrates significantly deeper into the intestinal walls, but, just like ulcerative colitis, it can occur in the large intestine and in the early stages first affect the upper intestinal wall. This can lead to a misdiagnosis.
In addition, doctors often mistakenly interpret the pain in the right lower abdomen typical of Crohn’s disease as appendicitis.
Treat Morbus Crohn: What is the best remedy?
Each treatment is individual and depends on the severity of the disease. Therefore, a comprehensive examination is essential before medical treatment. This includes the following steps:
- a conversation with the person affected (recording of symptoms)
- a physical examination: palpation of the lower abdomen for hardening, which may indicate inflammation
- an ultrasound examination to detect any abscesses or thickenings in the intestine
- a blood and stool test
- a gastroscopy and a colonoscopy in order to examine the digestive tract for conspicuous areas
If the doctor detects Crohn’s disease while examining the bowel, he usually begins treatment immediately. Crohn’s disease is not curable, but the appropriate medication can alleviate symptoms and shorten the acute phases. In the process, painkillers, antispasmodic drugs and anti-inflammatories such as cortisone are used. Doctors sometimes recommend that patients continue to take some of the drugs as a preventive measure in symptom-free phases in order to prevent impending relapses. In some cases, severely advanced diseases require an operation in which the doctor removes inflamed parts of the intestine. After an operation, however, the risk of a relapse increases considerably.
Those affected themselves can positively influence their everyday life by eating easily digestible food in small portions and making it more painless. It is also important that they drink enough to compensate for the loss of fluid caused by diarrhoea. In addition, the use of probiotic bacterial cultures has also shown promising results.
examination of the intestine with INTEST.pro
An important step in the search for the causes of intestinal complaints is a detailed examination of general intestinal health. With the intestinal test INTEST.pro it is possible to evaluate the individual composition of your microbiota – your intestinal bacteria. Find out how intact your intestinal mucosa protects you against inflammation, whether you have too many harmful bacteria that cause inflammation, or whether you are prone to certain intolerances. If your intestinal flora is very imbalanced, further medical examinations can be useful – for example if you suspect Crohn’s disease or other diseases. In our BIOMES laboratories we extensively evaluate your stool sample according to the latest scientific findings and prepare your personal microbiota profile in a practical online dashboard.