If you have been recently diagnosed with crohns, then you know that life is going to change. You are going to have to learn how to live with a chronic illness. You will need to gain all the knowledge you can about your illness, so that you can make the best choices regarding your health. Right now, you are probably confused, discouraged, and filled with at least a little trepidation. Although there will be more, and the answers are only brief, here are 5 questions about crohns disease that you may want answered.
What Causes Crohns?
Unfortunately, doctors do not really know what causes crohns. Some think it might be a virus attacks you immune system that initially starts crohns. Others suggest it may be related to hereditary bowel problems. Sadly, because they do not know why you have crohns, they are also searching for the cure.
What Causes Crohns Symptoms?
Although every case is different, the most common symptom of crohns is diarrhea. For some, it is simply loose stools and a dose of anti-diarrheal can get things back under control. For others, the bathroom has to be close at hand 24 hours a day. Generally, it is because your colon is full of sores and ulcers. You may not always feel the pain, because the colon does not have the nerves like some other parts of your body.
Anemia and fatigue are also related to the sores, because you can be bleeding internally. Even if you do not feel it, it can reduce you white blood cell count and make your really tired. If the bleeding gets really bad, it will manifest in your stools. If your stools are blackish or bloody, call your doctor right now.
What are the Tests for Crohns
Especially when your crohns is active, your doctor will probably require frequent blood tests to check for anemia and other health problem-like your white blood cell count. Also, some medications can occasionally affect liver function, and the blood test can let the doctor know if you are experiencing rare side-effects.
An endoscopy is used to check from your esophagus through to you small intestines. Since crohns can manifest itself anywhere along the digestive tract, you can also develop ulcers or strictures along the way. So, it will be important to take a look, now and then.
A colonoscopy is the most common test. If you have a severe case of active crohns right now, you may have one of these nasty buggers several times a year. However, once the crohns is in remissions, or the symptoms are controllable, the doctor may only ask for this test every couple of years.
Unfortunately, if you have crohns, you are also more susceptible to colon cancer, because of all the sores and other problems. So as uncomfortable as the prep can be, the test is vital.
If you are in the process of being diagnosed, you may also have to experience the upper and lower GI’s that require you to drink the barium. It is gross, but it basically helps problems show up during the various types of x-rays or CT scans.
Will Crohns go Away?
Unfortunately, crohns is a chronic illness. In other words, you are stuck with the disease. However, you can go into crohns remission and almost forget you have the disease. If the doctor gets you on the right medications and treatments, the symptoms can become mild and very tolerable. In that case, it is simply a matter of eating right, getting plenty of rest, taking your prescriptions, and paying attention to your body, in case you have a flare up down the line.
What should I Avoid?
If you have crohns, the doctor will probably give you a list of medications to avoid. For example, ibuprofen can be very hard on your colon and set of the symptoms. In general, the doctor will recommend Tylenol for your pain control. Advil, aspirin, and other meds can be hazardous to your health.
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Besides certain medications, avoid stress as much as possible. Although stress does not cause crohns, it definitely can exacerbate the symptoms. Under stressful circumstances, you will probably find yourself in the bathroom more often, and you will be less likely to tolerate any foods that are spicy, full of fat, or contain dairy products. You will have discovered what foods you can eat, because everyone is different.
Also avoid getting overly tired. Fatigue is a common symptom of crohns. If you get tired, your body is trying to tell you to slow down. Listen! With crohns, you immune system has been weakened. If you do not take care of yourself, you body will be less likely to fight a flare up or crohns, or any other illness for that matter.
So, now you know answers in brief to 5 common crohns questions. You probably have many more. Be sure to write them down and ask your doctor. The more you know about crohns disease, the better chance you have of taking control of the symptoms, so crohns does not control you. Then, you can learn to live with crohns and still have a good life.