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Myths and Facts About Crohn’s Disease

Myths and Facts About Crohn’s Disease

It’s estimated that more than half a million people in the United States have Crohn’s disease. Though it’s not clear why, the number of people diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in the country is on the rise.

Crohn’s disease is a condition that causes inflammation and ulcerations to develop in the gastrointestinal tract, which then affect its structure and function. This disease is grouped with a number of other conditions under the category of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), since they all affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Though the symptoms of Crohn’s disease — such as abdominal pain and diarrhea — can vary in severity and come and go, the disease can get worse over time. In fact, the condition can lead to more serious health complications, such as intestinal obstructions, nutrient deficiencies, and colon cancer.

At GI Physicians Inc. in Lima, Ohio, our skilled gastroenterologist, Ven Kottapalli, MD, CNSP, and team of experts specialize in diagnosing and treating Crohn’s disease. In this blog, Dr. Kottapalli explains some of the myths and facts surrounding Crohn’s disease.

Myth: IBD and IBS are the same

FACT: Though inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can cause similar symptoms, the conditions are different.

As mentioned, inflammatory bowel disease is an umbrella name given to a group of conditions, of which Crohn’s disease is one. These conditions cause inflammation and ulcerations to develop in the gastrointestinal tract. These problems, then, affect the structure and function of the gastrointestinal tract.

Irritable bowel syndrome, on the other hand, develops because of how your brain and gut interact. It causes abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, but it doesn’t cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract.

Myth: Stress causes Crohn’s disease

FACT: Stress doesn’t cause Crohn’s disease. The actual cause is still under investigation, but there are factors that may increase your risk of developing it, such as:

Genetics

If you have a parent or sibling with Crohn’s disease, you may have a greater risk of developing it. 

Autoimmune reaction

It’s possible that you may develop Crohn’s disease because of an autoimmune reaction, which is when your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. 

It’s possible that the bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract may trigger this immune system reaction, causing the inflammation and ulcerations.

Smoking

Smoking significantly increases your risk of developing Crohn’s disease.

Myth: Diet cures Crohn’s disease

FACT: What you eat doesn’t cause or cure Crohn’s disease. However, making changes to your diet may ease symptoms. 

Though there’s no special Crohn’s diet, you may find that avoiding carbonated drinks and certain foods — such as popcorn, nuts, and high-fiber foods — may ease your abdominal pain or diarrhea. 

Because Crohn’s disease affects the structure and function of your gastrointestinal tract, you may be at risk of having nutritional deficiencies and may need to take nutritional supplements.

Myth: You only need medication if you have symptoms

FACT: Crohn’s disease is chronic and needs ongoing treatment. While symptoms may go away, even for an extended period of time, that doesn’t mean it’s over. Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition that can get worse over time, especially if it's left untreated. 

No single medication works for all people with Crohn’s disease. We customize treatment plans based on symptoms. Though there are some medications we prescribe to ease symptoms during a flare-up, we may recommend other treatments to help prevent flare-ups. 

Crohn’s disease is a serious gastrointestinal disorder that affects the structure and function of your digestive tract. Don’t ignore your abdominal pain. Let us help you find out what’s going on, so you can get the right care. To learn more, call 419-228-2600 or book an appointment online with GI Physicians Inc. today.

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