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Heartburn And Crohn’s Disease

Crohns And Your Period

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Most people are diagnosed with Crohns disease between ages 15 and 35. Girls diagnosed with Crohns disease in their early teens typically get their first period later than usual.

Taking steroids or being underweight can also delay your first period. Some girls dont even get a period until their Crohns goes into remission.

Crohns disease can affect your period symptoms and vice versa. If youve noticed your Crohns symptoms get worse during the time around your period, youre not imagining things.

A 2014 study found that women with an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohns or ulcerative colitis have more pain and a heavier flow during their periods than those without IBD. They also have an uptick in symptoms, like diarrhea, nausea, belly cramps, and gas.

Women who had painful periods before they got their Crohns diagnosis tend to have more pain and other symptoms during their periods than those who didnt.

Researchers think some of the Crohns symptoms that occur during your period may be due to the release of substances called prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins make your uterus contract to expel its lining. They also make muscles in your gastrointestinal tract contract, which can cause symptoms like pain and diarrhea.

Inflammation from Crohns disease may affect levels of hormones that contribute to period symptoms. Whether you experience more or worse Crohns symptoms during your period may depend on your conditions severity and what medications you take to treat it.

Think You May Have Crohn’s Disease

Visit Gastroenterology Associates, conveniently located adjacent to Long Island Center for Digestive Health , a New York State-licensed non-hospital outpatient facility committed to providing high-quality colonoscopic and endoscopic and services in a comfortable, welcoming environment.

An undiagnosed case of Crohn’s disease, or other form of IBD, could prove to be extremely disruptive to daily life, especially during periods of symptom flare-ups. At LICDH, our team of physicians are all fellowship-trained specialists in digestive diseases, who offer comprehensive testing and treatment for IBD. If you think you may be dealing with Crohn’s disease, schedule a consultation.

Mistake No : You Don’t Stick With Your Treatment Plan

You need a long-term strategy to treat Crohn’s. Even if you feel better, don’t stop taking your medication without your doctor’s advice.

“A significant number of patients, once they’re in remission and they’re feeling well, don’t want to take medications long-term. That can be a mistake,” says Raymond Cross, MD. He’s an associate professor of medicine and director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Going off your medication can lead to flares and complications, Cross says. “What I try to tell patients when they come back in feeling well is, ‘Listen, this is a perfect outcome. Why would you want to mess with success by stopping your medicines?'”

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How Is Crohns Disease Treated

While there is no cure for Crohns disease, there are a number of options to help treat it. The goals of treatment are to:

  • Control inflammation, or swelling.
  • Ease symptoms, like pain, diarrhea and bleeding.
  • Fix nutrition deficiencies, if needed.

Treatment will depend on where the disease is and the severity of the disease, past complications, and response to earlier treatments. Remember, everyone experiences symptoms of Crohns disease differently. If one treatment doesnt work as well, there are other options. Just be sure to be in touch with your doctor regularly. Treatment options for Crohns disease involve medications, nutrition supplementation, surgery or a combination.

How Is It Diagnosed

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There is not one test or exam finding to diagnose Crohns Disease. It is determined based on a combination of findings. Typically, some, or all of the below will be used:

  • History of symptoms concerning for Crohns Disease with physical examination
  • Laboratory studies may be obtained to look at blood counts, electrolytes, markers of inflammation, liver function, kidney function and stool studies. A blood test may be ordered that measures antibody levels that help determine the difference between Ulcerative Colitis and Crohns Disease.
  • Colonoscopy to look at the tissue of the colon and last part of the small intestine, the terminal ileum. Sample of the tissue can be taken to be examined with a microscope.
  • Upper endoscopy to look at the esophagus , stomach and first part of the small intestine, the duodenum.
  • Imaging studies may be obtained including barium studies with an enema, a small bowel follow through, or a computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging

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Signs Of Possible Colitis

General signs of colitis can include:

  • Intense pain
  • Swelling of the colon tissue
  • Erythema of the surface of the colon
  • Ulcers on the colon which may bleed
  • Mucus and/or blood in stool and rectal bleeding
  • Diarrhea, which may occur, although some forms of colitis involve constipation so the stool and bowel movements may appear normal.

Other symptoms may include gas, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, gastro esophageal reflux disease, cramps, bowel urgency and many other uncomfortable aches in the gastrointestinal system.

Is It Crohns Disease Or Something Else

Crohns disease causes nonspecific symptoms for which many other medical conditions could be responsible. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between Crohns disease and other causes of an upset stomach.

People who frequently experience indigestion should rule out other causes before concluding that they have Crohns disease. If a person cannot determine a cause, they should speak with a doctor.

The doctor can diagnose the cause of an upset stomach by asking about a persons symptoms and their medical and family histories. They may also perform a physical examination to evaluate the persons overall health and look for signs of GI problems.

During a physical examination, the doctor will measure the persons heart rate, blood pressure, and body weight. They may also press on the persons stomach to check for signs of bloating, pain, or abnormal masses under the skin.

If the doctor thinks that the person may have a GI condition, such as Crohns disease, they will likely order laboratory tests to identify the underlying condition.

Laboratory tests that the doctor can use to help diagnose Crohns disease include:

  • blood and stool tests

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How Do Doctors Treat The Complications Of Crohns Disease

Your doctor may recommend treatments for the following complications of Crohns disease:

  • Intestinal obstruction. A complete intestinal obstruction is life threatening. If you have a complete obstruction, you will need medical attention right away. Doctors often treat complete intestinal obstruction with surgery.
  • Fistulas. How your doctor treats fistulas will depend on what type of fistulas you have and how severe they are. For some people, fistulas heal with medicine and diet changes, whereas other people will need to have surgery.
  • Abscesses. Doctors prescribe antibiotics and drain abscesses. A doctor may drain an abscess with a needle inserted through your skin or with surgery.
  • Anal fissures. Most anal fissures heal with medical treatment, including ointments, warm baths, and diet changes.
  • Ulcers. In most cases, the treatment for Crohns disease will also treat your ulcers.
  • Malnutrition. You may need IV fluids or feeding tubes to replace lost nutrients and fluids.
  • Inflammation in other areas of your body. Your doctor can treat inflammation by changing your medicines or prescribing new medicines.

Why Does It Happen

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The cause of Crohns Disease is unknown at this point. Researchers are working hard to determine a cause. We do know that nothing YOU did made you develop Crohns Disease. The disorder involves the bodys immune system acting inappropriately. Usually, the immune system works to protect the body from infection. An abnormal response may be related to the genes a person has, and/or something in the environment that causes the immune system to be activated when it does not need to be. Ultimately, the immune system is turned on and ready to fight. This can cause inflammation and damage to the lining of the GI tract, leading to symptoms. Most often Crohns disease affects the ileum (the lower part of the small intestine, but it can involve the entire length of the colon including the rectum and anus.

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What Causes Ulcerative Colitis

However, there are cases where the diagnosis of one form of IBD over the other is very difficult. At times, a final diagnosis is possible only after an event during the course of the disease or its treatment makes the form of IBD readily apparent.

Patients with IBD may be very confused as to the differences between these diseases. As with any chronic condition, education is an important tool to become an active participant in one’s own treatment plan.

If your diagnosis isn’t firm, don’t panic. In some people, it can take time to determine if the IBD is more like Crohn’s disease or more like ulcerative colitis. In about 5-20% of cases, people are diagnosed as having indeterminate colitis .

IBD is becoming increasingly treatable and there are now many medications in the arsenal that are helping people with all forms get greater control over their disease. The main differences between ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are described below.

  • Smoking can worsen condition

Signs Of Crohns Disease

Common signs of Crohns Disease are not as obvious as you think.

Inflammatory bowel disease affects approximately 1.6 million Americans. Of them, approximately half, or an estimated 780,000, suffer from Crohns Disease. Crohns is a chronic, lifelong inflammation of the digestive tract. The disease affects both men and women equally, and is typically diagnosed between the ages of 15-30.Diagnosing Crohns Disease can be a difficult task. Unlike ulcerative colitis, which exclusively appears in the colon, Crohns isnt just confined to the colon. Typically, Crohns begins in the small intestine and joins the large intestine, but it can appear anywhere from the mouth to anus, with symptoms manifesting in several different forms.Although the true cause of Crohns is currently unknown, its believed that a combination of immune system problems, genetics, and environmental factors together are responsible. Of those with Crohns, up to 20 percent have a blood relative with IBD in some form.Symptoms are triggered in a number of ways. With Crohns, the immune system abnormally attacks healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. Stress, food, and even the lining of your stomach can aggravate this inflammation. Since symptoms do vary from person-to-person, what constitutes a flare-up depends on what one considers normal on a daily basis. Crohns requires constant treatment, so its best to stay ahead of a flare-up as much as humanly possible.

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Small And Large Intestine

The small and large intestines are the most common places for Crohn’s disease to cause inflammation. Many people may mistakenly believe that it is only the small intestine that is affected. But the large intestine is also commonly affected in Crohn’s disease, and about 20% of people have the disease only in the large intestine .

The most common form of Crohn’s, which affects about 45% of patients, is called ileocolitis and does affect the last section of the small intestine and the large intestine. The second most common form, ileitis, affects about 35% of patients and affects the ileum. The classifications are mostly for the benefit of a treatment plan, and the type of Crohn’s disease a patient has can change if other parts of the intestine become affected.

When To See Your Gp

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Visit your GP if you’re worried about your symptoms, or if:

  • you have symptoms several times a week
  • over-the-counter medications aren’t helping
  • your symptoms are severe
  • you have difficulty swallowing
  • you have possible signs of a more serious problem, such as persistent vomiting, vomiting blood or unexplained weight loss

Your GP will usually be able to diagnose GORD based on your symptoms, although they may refer you for some tests.

Read more about diagnosing GORD.

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Digestive Enzymes And Crohns Disease

According to the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America, Crohns disease is a chronic condition that affects 1.4 million Americans annually, with most patients diagnosed before the age of 30.

What is Crohns Disease?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Crohns disease is one of two major chronic inflammatory bowel diseases, known as IBD. Crohns disease produces severe inflammation within the intestinal tract, causing diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and substantial weight loss. It is an incurable autoimmune disease, but symptom reduction is possible through controlling diet, drinking plenty of fluids and not smoking. Because the intestines remain inflamed throughout life, digestion of certain foods is difficult. People with Crohns should avoid dairy products and decrease the amount of fiber consumed. Supplementing with digestive enzymes can be helpful in digesting and absorbing food in the affected intestines.

Digestive Enzymes

The particular enzymes vital to healthy digestion include lipase, cellulase, pepsin, ptyalin, trypsin, amylase and protease. Cellulase which is necessary to digest fiber cannot be produced within the body, so the only way to obtain it is by eating raw foods or supplementation. Protease enzymes are plant-based and have to been shown to be especially helpful in alleviating the intestinal inflammation associated with Crohns disease. Protease facilitates the breaking down of complex proteins into easily absorbed amino acids.

The Connection

Mistake No : You Don’t See A Specialist

Crohn’s is a complicated disease, and the treatments are always changing. Your best bet is to get treated by an experienced gastroenterologist. That’s a doctor who specializes in the digestive system.

Your treatment doesn’t end with your GI doctor. It should involve a team of specialists, which can include your primary care doctor, surgeons, radiologists, and nutritionists.

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Crohns Of The Appendix Esophagus And Mouth

Crohns of the appendix, esophagus, and mouth are rare types of the disease.

Crohns disease of the appendix may mimic appendicitis, and can be present without any other unique symptoms.

Crohns of the esophagus may cause pain behind the breastbone while swallowing. If the esophagus has become narrowed due to scarring, you may have trouble swallowing or food may become stuck on the way down. Contact your doctor immediately if you have these symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of Crohns of the mouth normally consist of large, painful sores in the mouth. If you have this symptom, contact your doctor.

Complications of Crohns disease sometimes involve the inflammation and scarring that can occur.

Serious complications of Crohns may include:

  • obstruction of the esophagus, small intestine, or colon
  • abscesses
  • fistulas, often between two parts of the intestine
  • anal fissures
  • perforation of the small intestine or colon
  • major distention or dilatation of the colon

Other areas of the body may also be affected by Crohns, such as:

Common Diseases Of The Esophagus

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The following diseases can affect the esophagus.

Crohn’s Disease

The esophagus can be affected by Crohn’s disease, though it is very rare and estimated to occur in less than 1% of patients. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease in the esophagus can include trouble swallowing or painful swallowing and heartburn.

If Crohn’s disease in the esophagus is suspected, an upper endoscopy may reveal ulcers, fistulas, or strictures in the esophagus. Treatment for Crohn’s disease in the esophagus can include medication, esophageal dilation, enteral nutrition, and surgery.


One fairly common condition that can affect the esophagus is gastroesophageal reflux disease . In GERD, the sphincter between the esophagus and the stomach is weakened, which allows the food and digestive juices in the stomach to enter back into the esophagus.

Many people experience an occasional bout of heartburn or indigestion, but GERD is diagnosed when reflux is occurring more than two times per week. Over time, GERD can lead to more serious conditions such as an ulcer or strictures.

Other Diseases

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Complications Of Crohns Disease

  • Bowel Obstruction. When the entire depth of the intestinal wall is affected, it can cause narrowing on some parts of the bowel, leading to obstruction in the flow of gastric contents.
  • Fistulas. Crohns disease may cause open sores or ulcers in the GI tract in the long run. If the ulcers extend all the way through the intestinal wall, it can create an abnormal connection or tunnel, also called as fistula. This can develop between the skin and the intestine or between the intestine and another organ.
  • Anal fissure. A small tear in the tissue lining of the anus or its surrounding skin may develop.
  • Malnutrition. Chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain may cause deficiency in nutrition.
  • Other health conditions including colon cancer, clotting disorders, anemia, osteoporosis, arthritis and certain diseases of the skin, gallbladder, and liver
  • Mistake No : You Don’t Keep In Touch With Your Crohn’s Doctor

    You should be seeing a lot of your gastroenterologist. Go to all your scheduled appointments. It will keep your treatment on track and let your doctor make changes to your medication, if needed.

    “Some of the medications we use, such as immunosuppressants and biologic drugs, require monitoring in person. If you’re not coming to the doctor as suggested, you could have side effects that are percolating,” Cross says.

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    What Are The Causes Of Acid Reflux

    Heartburn is normally caused by lifestyle choices and what you put into your body. More specifically.

    • Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
    • Being overweight or obese
    • Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
    • Snacking close to bedtime
    • Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods

    Causes Of Crohns Disease

    5.4 Inflammatory Bowel Disease

    Like UC, Crohns disease is an immune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the bodys own cells.

    Common factors that can increase a persons risk of developing Crohns disease include :

    • Genetics: If a person has a parent or a sibling with Crohns disease, it increases their risk of developing the disease.
    • Smoking: Smoking can more than double a persons chances of developing Crohns disease.
    • Diet: A high-fat diet may increase a persons risk of developing Crohns disease.
    • Medications: Some medications, such as NSAIDs, antibiotics, and birth control pills, may slightly increase a persons chance of developing Crohns disease.

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