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How Crohn’s Disease Affects People Who Suffer From It

Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. Inflammation can affect any part of the digestive system, from the mouth to the back passage. But it mostly occurs in the last section of the small intestine (ileum) or the large intestine (colon).

Crohn disease is most common in western Europe and North America, where it has a prevalence of 100 to 300 per 100,000 people. More than half a million Americans are currently affected by this disorder

Crohn’s Disease is a difficult disorder for those that suffer from it, both physically and mentally. This disorder causes inflammation of the intestines, which can be very painful, as well as other physical side effects that can be wearisome emotionally.

Physical side effects associated with Crohn’s Disease are:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Ulcers
  • Diarrhea
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Loss of appetite, and malnutrition.

Basically, what takes place is the intestines swell; as a result, certain areas of the walls develop sores which bleed; the inflammation is painful as well as the ulcers that form. Because during the swelling process excess water and salt are released, sufferers experience diarrhea as the body tries to expel extra fluid.

All of the physical characteristics of Crohn’s Disease are painful and challenging. However, dealing with the pain of a chronic illness is often detrimental to one’s mental state as well.

Other than the physical manifestations of the disease, Crohn’s and colitis can have a significant impact on a student’s social life, including mental health, body image, and bullying.

Misconceptions regarding the cause of Crohn’s Disease also fuel the emotional distress of sufferers. For years, people have been inaccurately told emotions play a role in Crohn’s Disease and other inflammatory bowel disorders – either that it was a figment of their imaginations or brought on by mental unstableness; neither of which are true.

Another difficult aspect to deal with is the strain and embarrassment of excessive diarrhea and gas. When out in public, sudden urges to go to the restroom that sometimes lead to accidents are humiliating. Other people rarely understand the depth of the disorder.

Likewise, people do not typically understand the amount of pain experienced by someone with Crohn’s. Either met with disbelief or misunderstanding, sufferers typically feel as though they must constantly explain themselves and a disorder they would probably rather keep private.

Many of the physical side effects of Crohn’s can be treated with medication or surgery. The fact that no cure exists can be disheartening, but help is available. The important thing for people suffering from Crohn’s to remember is that they are not alone, their symptoms are treatable, and they do not have to suffer the effects of Crohn’s Disease indefinitely.

Crohn’s flares often aren’t predictable, but certain triggers may bring on a flare, such as:
  • disruptions to your Crohn’s treatment plan, like a missed dose, wrong dose, or switching to a new medication.
  • chronic stress.
  • smoking tobacco.
  • infections.
  • environmental pollution.
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Which Foods Should I Avoid With a Crohn’s Disease Diet Plan?
  • Alcohol (mixed drinks, beer, wine)
  • Butter, mayonnaise, margarine, oils.
  • Carbonated beverages.
  • Coffee, tea, chocolate.
  • Corn.
  • Dairy products (if lactose intolerant)
  • Fatty foods (fried foods)
  • Foods high in fiber.

When symptoms flare up, sufferers should seek the care and advice of a physician. If the emotional stress of the disorder becomes unbearable or too much to handle, psychological help may be needed as well. Getting help from a trained professional familiar with the effects of chronic illness may be very helpful in helping sufferers of the disease cope with their circumstances.

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