What is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)? You may not have heard of it before. Let’s delve deeper into understanding this disease.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract that results from altered interactions between gut microbiota and the immune system. Let’s first take a look at the symptoms of IBD.
- Abdominal pain
- Poor diet
- Skin lesions
- Mental health problems
There are two main subtypes of IBD: ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD). UC occurs in the large and small intestines, and CD is characterized by unique microbial features.
Although these two diseases have similar aspects, they are actually completely different from each other in terms of intestinal involvement points and symptoms. When it comes to the difference between the two, ulcerative colitis predominantly affects the large intestine, while Crohn’s disease can develop anywhere in the intestines and the entire digestive system, affecting all layers of the intestinal wall. The cause of the inflammatory state that occurs in both diseases is unclear. As a result of this inflammatory condition, the quality of life of the individual is affected, and the effect of this condition lasts for a lifetime.
Currently, there is no cure for Crohn’s disease. Although there is no cure, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease are manageable.
What Are the Underlying Causes of the Disease?
The exact cause of Crohn’s Disease is currently unclear, but the primary factor is genetics. Nevertheless, considering the increase in prevalence of the disease, it is possible that a combination of factors including not only genetics but also environmental and lifestyle preferences may be effective in the occurrence of this disease. On the other hand, these factors do not fully explain the risk of the disease.
Previous studies have demonstrated that individuals with Crohn’s disease have major changes in their gut microbiota. Gut microbiota can shape or change the environment in the colon as they can be involved in the modulation of the immune system or have antibiotic activity thanks to the metabolites produced. Therefore, it is believed that gut microbiota may play a role in causing, maintaining, or alleviating the inflammatory conditions involved in Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease is more common in females than in males. Generally, the incidence increases between the ages of 35-40. However, in some cases, Crohn’s disease can also develop in childhood or adolescence.
Crohn’s disease can present itself with the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Poor diet
- Mental health problems
Crohn’s disease may cause problems in various parts of your body. The symptoms may vary depending on where the disease is located. They may appear suddenly, and cause problems in patients requiring them to get immediate intervention. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea and abdominal pain. Intestinal cramps, diarrhea or constipation, pain, bleeding in stool, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss are observed in cases where the small or large intestine is affected. Inflamed and runny fistulas, cracks, and abscesses around the anus are also among the symptoms of the disease. Not all of these symptoms are observed in every patient; however, symptoms of fever, weakness, and fatigue are common during the active period of the disease.
Sexual life is affected in Crohn’s disease, as in all other inflammatory bowel diseases. This negative effect may be due to the symptoms of the disease or to the psychology of the patient. In general, abdominal pain, pain in the anus, fear of gas or incontinence are associated with Crohn’s disease and sexuality. Therefore, individuals who experience problems in their sexual life should inform their physician.
What Are the Causes of Crohn’s Disease?
The cause of Crohn’s disease is currently unclear. However, according to researchers, there are several factors that may contribute to the disease.
Immune system cells are responsible for the inflammation in your body. Therefore, the cause of Crohn’s disease is the immune system, which plays the leading role in inflammation in the body. On the other hand, studies have indicated that Crohn’s disease does not meet the criteria to be classified as an autoimmune disorder.
Genetics, which are inherited from your family, and genetic predisposition to disease can also play a great role. In their research, scientists have found that the STAT4 gene causes a predisposition to ulcerative colitis. No such susceptibility gene has yet been found for Crohn’s disease.
The food you consume always plays a role in your health. Consuming foods rich in fat and artificial sweeteners can cause various diseases over time. Eating such a diet can clog your arteries over time and prevent blood from circulating in your body, causing your cells to die. Poor diet is the leading actor in the formation of many diseases, especially Crohn’s disease. It is in your hands to manage your diet according to your bacteria and alleviate your current symptoms.
About 80% of the cells that make up the immune system are of intestinal origin. Bacteria are the first bodies to greet newly-formed immune cells. Therefore, if new immune cells are formed from an injured area, you will, unfortunately, have chronic inflammation.
Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Serratia marcescens bacteria are the most common bacteria found in cases of Crohn’s disease. If the number of these bacteria increases, it can cause urinary tract and digestive system problems.
Recent studies have revealed that rather than causing the disease, E.coli cause damage. If you have Crohn’s disease, E.coli can trigger the disease. This pathogenic bacterium releases an enzyme, causing ammonia to form in its environment. It then uses the ammonia as an energy source, as it is very rich in nitrogen. Nitrogen in the bacteria enables the E.coli colony to grow stronger. As a result, your intestines remain inflamed, resulting in Crohn’s disease.
We want to help you solve your gastrointestinal problems! If you have Crohn’s disease, analyze the bacteria in your intestines and feed them the nutrients they need!