Crohn's Disease is an illness that comes under the heading of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD). IBD is a group of chronic disorders that cause inflammation and ulcerations in the small and large intestines. Crohn's Disease may affect any part of the digestive system, and all the layers of the bowel system are likely to become severly inflamed.

What are the Symptoms?

The most common symptoms of Crohn's Disease are pain in the lower right abdominal area, diarrhea, rectal bleeding, weight loss, and fever. The symptoms will vary in severity from person to person, and may flare up or improve at different times.

Who's at Risk?

Crohn's Disease seems to affect males and females equally and appears to run in some families. About 20 percent of people with Crohn's Disease have another blood family member with a form of IBD.

Around 2 million Americans have a form of IBD, including an estimated 200,000 children. The onset of an IBD usually occurs between the ages of 15 and 25, and if a person discovers it later in life, between ages 50 and 80.

The IBDs are largely a disease found in the developed world, principally the U.S. and Europe. Crohn's Disease is reported to be more common in urban areas in the northern climates.

Crohn's Disease is four to five times more likely to affect Jewish Americans than other groups.

What's the Cause?

No one is sure what the cause is but there have been many suggestions and theories that viruses, bacteria, diet, stress, and smoking are the possible causes. But, there is no definite evidence that any one of these cause Crohn's Disease.

What's the Cure?

There is no known cure for this disease but there are several drugs that are helpful in controlling the symptoms. The goals of therapy are to correct nutritional deficiencies, to control inflammation and to relieve abdonminal pain, diarrhea, and rectal bleeding.

The following drugs may be used as treatment: Sulfasalazine, Steriod Drugs, Antibiotics, Mesalimine, 5-ASA, Azathioprine, and 6-mmercaptopurine.

No special diet has been developed for preventing or treating Crohn's Diseas, but a balanced diet is reccommended. Some have found that certain foods or spices do make their symptoms worse, so it is suggested that they avoid them. Here are some of the foods and or habits that may irritate the already existing problem: alcohol, milk, spicy foods, greasy foods, fiber-enriched foods, and smoking.

Information for this node was taken from Comuminty Health Practices and my girlfriend, Kate, who suffers from this disease.