Crohn’s and Colitis

What are Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis?

Well, that’s an interesting question.  To get into microbial detail here would probably bore most readers.  But, here’s an informal overview:

Crohn’s and Colitis are together known as the inflammatory bowel diseases, or IBDs. Together, they may affect as many as 1.4 million Americans.  Yet, somehow, they have slipped through the cracks until recent pharmaceutical advertising has taken advantage of their increasing prevalence.

Crohn’s Disease can affect any portion of the gastrointestinal tract (from your mouth to your anus).  Colitis is an extremely similar, but different disease, localized to the colon. They both are cases of, in summary, the body attacking itself.  The body does not recognize its own substance, and it reacts with defensive inflammation (add common ulcers to Colitis patients).  This inflammation, however, can increase to dangerous levels, resulting in symptoms such as:

  • Severe, debilitating, stomach cramps
  • Uncontrollable bowel movements
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation (bit of an interesting contradiction with the former, ay?)
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Night Sweats
  • Rectal Bleeding
  • Intestinal Ruptures
  • Death.

Sounds fun, right? What’s worse: these diseases are often referred to as the “invisible illnesses”.  You will almost never be able to tell if someone is flaring up on the outside.  Plans will be cancelled, events will be interrupted, and friends will be lost all along the way.

But, how do you treat it?  Well, to sum it up:

  • Prednisone.
    • Anyone that has ever had the misfortune of dealing with this drug knows its nasty side-effects: water retention, depression, muscle pain or weakness, fever, chills, dizziness, lightheadedness, feinting, vomiting, stomach pains (again, interesting, right??).
  • Chemotherapy.
    • Yes, you read that right.  Methotrexate, Remicade, and 6-MP all fall under this wonderful category.
  • Humira.
    • With all of its amazing side-effects: shortness of breath, fevers, muscle aches, coughs, feeling tired, excessive urination, fevers, sweats and more.
  • Surgery.
    • That’s right, why not just take the infected intestine out? OH, because Crohn’s may end up still affecting other parts of the GI tract.  Right.

Other treatments are being experimented with.  I apologize if I can’t cover them all, but you get the idea.  IBD is a bad, bad thing.  Our goal in trying to raise money for the CCFA through Team Challenge is to raise money not only for research and education, but for treatment and to better the lives of those most severely affected by it.

So please, any donation to the CCFA and Team Challenge, which can be made through the Donate Now link all over my webpage, is greatly appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

Matthew

2 thoughts on “Crohn’s and Colitis

  1. You forgot intestinal ruptures, which can lead to agonising pain and sometimes death. And increased risk of bowel cancer. Those are most fun aspects of our disease, surely? 😉
    IBD Warrior Princess xxxx

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s