A Brief Summary of Crohn’s Disease Treatment, Symptoms, and More
What causes Crohn’s disease? No one really knows. According to doctors, it could be an autoimmune disease. Crohn’s research suggests that the disease is triggered by the immune system, wherein it attacks harmless bacteria or food in your gut causing an inflamed (and potentially damaged) bowel. One thing is for sure, though – Crohn’s does not only affect the bowels but joints, eyes, mouth and skin, no thanks to the chronic inflammatory activity of this IBD.
In March 2016, Health Union conducted a life-altering national Crohn’s patients survey which revealed:
“[It] was not uncommon for patients to see multiple healthcare professionals (HCPs), have numerous office visits, and endure multiple diagnostic tests before receiving a [Crohn’s disease] diagnosis. Results demonstrate an impact on such things as the ability to work or exercise, but also on overall quality of life and social activities. Respondents wished more people understood the disease and its impact.”
Crohn’s Disease Symptoms
The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease can include:
- Chronic diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Cramping and bloating
Treating Crohn’s Disease
Unfortunately, patients and professionals alike seem to be at a loss for treating Crohn’s disease. The main reason finding an effective Crohn’s disease treatment is so challenging is because IBDs can affect different parts of the gastrointestinal tract. This means, says Mayo Clinic gastroenterologist Edward V. Loftus, “not everyone has the same symptoms,” suggesting that IBD patients are on all sorts of medications to lower inflammation, strengthen bones and remove harmful intestinal bacteria, including:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs for crohn’s (corticosteroids and oral 5-aminosalicylates)
- Immune system suppressors (azathioprine, mercaptopurine, infliximab, methotrexate, and natalizumab)
- Antibiotics (ciprofloxacin and metronidazole)
- Other medications (anti-diarrheals, pain relievers, iron, vitamins D and B12, and calcium)
However, a recent study may point towards a treatment for Crohn’s disease and other IBD patients.
In October 2013, researchers published a study in the journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology about the effects the marijuana plant Cannabis sativa had on patients’ symptoms of Crohn’s disease and other IBDs. This paper was even the first of its kind to study the benefits of cannabis for IBD in a controlled setting.