Any part of the gastrointestinal tract may be affected by this chronic inflammatory disease.
What to look for
The symptoms may include pain, diarrhoea, fever and a loss of weight. The end of the small intestine at the place where it joins the large intestine is the most frequent site. Some parts may remain only mildly affected. Crohn's disease most often affects young adults and those over the age of 60. In younger people, there are likely to be spasms of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, weight loss and anaemia. The small intestine is less able to absorb food. When the disease affects older people, rectal bleeding is more likely. For all ages, the anus may be affected as well. If the colon is affected, bloody diarrhoea may result. Other complications may involve conditions such as eye inflammations, severe arthritis and disorders of the skin.
While the cause is not certain, it may be an abnormal allergic reaction or response to an infectious agent. There seems to have been a increase in cases over the last few decades. A genetic factor seems present and some racial groups are more susceptible.
When to seek further professional advice
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or think you might have Crohn's Disease you should consult your doctor.
Reflexology: Treatment will be holistic, depending on the symptoms and characteristics of the sufferer. The reflex points corresponding to the small and large intestines will be addressed.
In some cases osteopathic attention may prove appropriate.
Other therapies include: Homeopathy, Autogenic Training, Alexander Technique, Spiritual Healing, and Natropathy.
Treatment will include the following: An examination may show tender abdominal swellings from a thickening of the intestinal walls. If a sigmoidoscopy confirms the disease, certain drugs may be given orally. Severe cases may need admission to hospital for a blood transfusion and intravenous feeding. A high-vitamin, low-fibre diet may be advised. Damaged parts of the intestine may need to be taken out and surgery needed for obstruction, perforation or excessive bleeding. Even after surgery, the problem may well recur.
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