Crohn's disease is a kind of chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation in the intestines, which can cause severe diarrhea, tiredness, weight loss, and malnutrition. Although there is no known treatment for Crohn's disease, medicines can significantly lessen its signs and symptoms and lead to long-term remission and inflammation healing.
Crohn's disease causes patches or segments of inflammation in the digestive tract, ranging from the mouth to the anus. Inflammation can induce strictures in the intestine or fistulas, which are tunnels through the intestine wall. In different people, it might affect different parts of the digestive tract. IBD-related inflammation can migrate to the bowel's deeper layers. This inflammation can even expand to the liver and pancreas in certain individuals. The condition is unpleasant and debilitating, and it can lead to some serious complications.
Each year, doctors only see a few new cases. It usually appears between the ages of 10 and 40, with a second peak in the 60s. In developed countries, Crohn's disease is more common than in underdeveloped nations. For recent decades, the frequency of incidence has been rising. Although there is a family history of Crohn's disease, many people have no relatives who have the disease. Both men and women are affected alike by Crohn's disease.
Common Symptoms of Crohn's Disease
Crohn's disease signs and symptoms can range from moderate to severe, and they appear gradually, although they can also appear suddenly and without notice. There may be times when you don't have any signs or symptoms. Any region of your small or large intestine can be affected by Crohn's disease, and it can be continuous or encompass different segments. In some patients, this condition is limited to a portion of the large intestine.
When the condition is active, the symptoms may include diarrhea, fever, fatigue, abdominal cramps, blood in the stool, mouth sores, reduced appetite resulting in weight loss, and pain around the anus. Critical symptoms and indicators of severe Crohn's disease might include inflammation of the skin, eyes, and joints, inflammation of the liver or bile ducts, kidney stones, iron deficiency or anemia, and delayed growth and sexual development in children.
Causes of Crohn's Disease
The specific causes of Crohn's disease are uncertain. There is no conclusive proof that Crohn's disease is caused by specific food or life stress. Previously, diet and stress were thought to be the most important contributors, but recent research suggests that these factors may aggravate, but not cause, the condition. A person's immune system appears to be overactive due to a mix of hereditary and environmental factors.
The immune system reaction serves as the body's defense against bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful substances. The gut becomes inflamed as a result of this excessive response. Crohn's disease can develop when the immune system tries to fight off an invading microorganism but instead targets the digestive tract cells as a result of an uncontrolled immunological response.
Crohn's disease is more common in individuals who have relatives suffering from the same. Its development is presumably influenced by several variables, including inheritance and a dysfunctional immune system. Thus, genes may play a role in making people more vulnerable.
Five Types of Crohn's Disease
Each of the five kinds of Crohn's disease has its unique set of symptoms and affects different parts of the digestive tract. Crohn's disease can take several forms, including:
This usual type affects both the small and large intestines. One may experience pain in the middle or lower right area of their abdomen, along with diarrhea and considerable weight loss.
Ileitis affects only the ileum, but the patients have the same symptoms as other Crohn's disease patients. They may also develop abscesses in the right lower abdomen.
Gastroduodenal Crohn's Disease
This type is identified when the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine become inflamed. Nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and appetite loss are some of its symptoms.
Patchy regions of inflammation form in the upper portion of the small intestine, causing diarrhea, abscesses, and abdominal pain after meals.
Crohn's colitis is a disease that affects only the colon. You may get rectal bleeding, sores around the anus, skin lesions, and joint discomfort, in addition to diarrhea.
Crohn's Disease v/s Ulcerative Colitis
Both Crohn's and UC cause ongoing GI tract inflammation, although there are several differences.
Crohn's disease can affect any region of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, and can manifest itself in patches, leaving other parts of the GI tract unaffected. Inflammation of the gut wall can spread across its entire thickness. In five years, over 67 percent of individuals in remission experience at least one recurrence.
The large intestine and the rectum are the only parts of the body affected by ulcerative colitis. Although the pattern may expand throughout the colon, inflammation occurs only in the intestine's innermost layer. Within one year, about 30% of those in remission will experience at least one relapse.
Treatment for Crohn's Disease
A combination treats Crohn's disease of medications and, in some cases, surgery. Immunomodulators, which act to tone down the immune system response, are beneficial to some individuals. There are currently no standard endoscopic therapies for severely inflamed intestinal segments that do not respond to medicines. Smoking is particularly harmful to Crohn's patients since it can promote high blood pressure.
As there is no cure for Crohn's disease, therapy focuses on reducing inflammation in the intestines and preventing flare-ups. Short-term use of steroids, such as prednisone, is permissible, but long-term use of steroids and narcotic pain medicines is not recommended due to side effects. Low levels of iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D can occur in some patients, necessitating the use of iron, vitamin B12, or vitamin D supplements, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
Throughout their lives, many individuals with Crohn's disease ultimately require surgery. Strictures can be treated by endoscopy or colonoscopy to stretch the opening or surgery to remove the narrow tract of the intestine. Immunomodulators are frequently used in conjunction with biologic therapy, which includes putting elastic tubing or stitches in place to assist a fistula heal and remove problematic intestinal parts.
Crohn's Disease in Ayurveda
Ayurveda, India's holistic science, puts a strong emphasis on digestive system healthcare. Ayurvedic principles emphasize the importance of a healthy digestive system in terms of the human body and mind's overall balanced functioning and well-being. Healthy digestion ensures that the nutrients obtained from meals are used to generate healthy tissues. When our digestion is compromised, our body's tissues, including muscle, blood, bone, and nerves, become weakened and vulnerable to disease.
According to Ayurvedic literature, Crohn's disease is caused by a relatively weak and imbalanced digestive system that has become prone to toxin buildup and the activation of a strong immunological response. Poor diet, inflammatory foods, stress, and a reduction in the body's natural ability to recover are all thought to contribute to the buildup of toxins and eventual imbalance.
Crohn's disease is similar to Grahani disease, according to Ayurveda. Grahani is an anatomical word for the small intestines in Ayurveda, specifically Ileum and jejunum. Any inflammation of this area, which imbalanced Dosha causes, can induce a wide range of symptoms comparable to Crohn's disease everywhere in the digestive tract. The severity and form of symptoms will differ depending on the doshic predominance and activity.
Mandagi- lack of appetite and digestion, irregular, incorrect, irrelevant, or incompatible diet habits, and junk food are the key causes of Grahani illness, according to Ayurveda. Non-adherence to appropriate dietary habits in certain digestive illnesses, particularly post-diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome, is also a major cause of this disease.
Ayurvedic Treatment for Crohn's Disease
The Ayurvedic Crohn's disease treatment plan focuses on removing toxins from the body, boosting nutrition and digestive function, lowering stress and supporting the neurological system, and enhancing the body's ability to heal. This four-pronged framework goes much beyond surface systems to completely revitalize the patient's health and well-being.
It may include lifestyle changes, counseling, the prescription of kitchen and medicative herbal medicines, guided practice in gentle yoga asanas and breathing techniques, therapy of Ayurvedic rejuvenating massage, and prescriptions for alternative detoxifying therapies.
The principles of classical Ayurveda and research are put to use to treat Crohn's disease effectively. Strict dietary restrictions, internal research drugs, and lifestyle changes are all part of the treatment plan. In severe cases, Panchakarma therapy is used for Crohn's disease in conjunction with effective treatments.
If the patient is already receiving allopathic treatment, Ayurvedic treatment can be started simultaneously, and allopathic medications can be gradually reduced later. Ayurvedic treatments usually produce excellent outcomes. Early cases are more likely to respond quickly than chronic cases. If the patient follows all of the guidelines, they may even achieve a complete cure.
Authored by: Bhavishya Pahwa
About the Author: Bhavishya Pahwa is a budding writer who has always confided in a pen. He believes that art is a cure-all and that introspection followed by writing can add to the sanity of the world.