What is Crohn's Disease? I was compared to it's pain

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ranger, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. ranger

    ranger New Member

    A very prominent person to my life right now, suffers from Crohn's Disease. She told me that even though she has problems from it, she pushes herself and gets out there to do what she can. This was by the way of advising me to do the same. Push myself! I've heard it before and always say that pushing it, usually makes me feel worse. I know nothing about her horrible disease and I want to know if I am being a quitter by not acting like she did. All I know is, I can get out when I feel good and I pace myself. I suffer from IBS, gastritis and stomach pain. No Crohn's, but how does that compare to FM?
    Ranger
  2. ssMarilyn

    ssMarilyn New Member

    Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammatory process primarily involving the intestinal tract. Although it may involve any part of the digestive tract from the mouth to the anus, it most commonly affects the last part of the small intestine (ileum) and/or the large intestine (colon and rectum).

    Crohn's disease is a chronic condition and may recur at various times over a lifetime. Some people have long periods of remission, sometimes for years, when they are free of symptoms. There is no way to predict when a remission may occur or when symptoms will return.

    What are the symptoms of Crohn's disease?

    Because Crohn's disease can affect any part of the intestine, symptoms may vary greatly from patient to patient. Common
    symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, weight loss, and bloating. Not all patients experience all of
    these symptoms, and some may experience none of them. Other symptoms may include anal pain or drainage, skin lesions,
    rectal abscess, fissure, and joint pain (arthritis).

    Common Crohn's symptoms:

    Cramping - abdominal pain
    Diarrhea
    Fever
    Weight loss
    Bloating
    Anal pain or drainage
    Skin lesions
    Rectal abscess
    Fissure
    Joint pain

    Who does it affect?

    Any age group may be affected, but the majority of patients are young adults between 16 and 40years old. Crohn's disease
    occurs most commonly in people living in northern climates. It affects men and women equally and appears to be common
    in some families. About 20 percent of people with Crohn's disease have a relative, most often a brother or sister, and
    sometimes a parent or child, with some form of inflammatory bowel disease.

    Crohn's disease and a similar condition called ulcerative colitis are often grouped together as inflammatory bowel disease. The two diseases afflict an estimated two million individuals in the U.S.

    What causes Crohn's disease?

    The exact cause is not known. However, current theories center on an immunologic (the body's defense system) and/or
    bacterial cause. Crohn's disease is not contagious, but it does have a slight genetic (inherited) tendency. An x-ray study of the small intestine may be used to diagnose Crohn's disease.

    How is Crohn's disease treated?

    Initial treatment is almost always with medication. There is no "cure" for Crohn's disease, but medical therapy with one or more drugs provides a means to treat early Crohn's disease and relieve its symptoms. The most common drugs prescribed
    are corticosteroids, such as prednisone and methylprednisolone, and various anti-inflammatory agents.

    Other drugs occasionally used include 6-mercaptopurine and azathioprine, which are immunosuppressive. Metronidazole,
    an antibiotic with immune system effects, is frequently helpful in patients with anal disease.

    In more advanced or complicated cases of Crohn's disease, surgery may be recommended. Emergency surgery is sometimes necessary when complications, such as a perforation of the intestine, obstruction (blockage) of the bowel, or significant bleeding occur with Crohn's disease. Other less urgent indications for surgery may include abscess formation,
    fistulas (abnormal communications from the intestine), severe anal disease or persistence of the disease despite appropriate drug treatment.

    Not all patients with these or other complications require surgery. This decision is best reached through consultation with your gastroenterologist and your colon and rectal surgeon.

    Shouldn't surgery for Crohn's disease be avoided at all costs?

    While it is true that medical treatment is preferred as the initial form of therapy, it is important to realize that surgery is eventually required in up to three-fourths of all patients with Crohn's. Many patients have suffered unnecessarily due to a mistaken belief that surgery for Crohn's disease is dangerous or that it inevitably leads to complications.

    Surgery is not "curative," although many patients never require additional operations. A conservative approach is frequently taken, with a limited resection of intestine (removal of the diseased portion of the bowel) being the most common procedure.

    Surgery often provides effective long-term relief of symptoms and frequently limits or eliminates the need for ongoing use of prescribed medications. Surgical therapy is best conducted by a physician skilled and experienced in the management of
    Crohn's disease.



  3. ranger

    ranger New Member

    However, as bad as it is, she suffered and then decided to pull up her boot straps and get on with her life in spite of it. I am proud of her for that. She told me this to hint that I should ignore my pain, weakness, stomach problems, fatigue etc. and do the same. I said at this time, I don't feel I can. In my recent past, doing more than I think I can has gotten me worse. The FM/IBS is really hurting me and keeping me out of things now and then. I am afraid to find out what it will do to me, as in the past my pushes have worsened things. Now I feel even more guilty and that's all I need. Is she better than me? How can we compare?
  4. Annette2

    Annette2 New Member

    I think comparing FMS to Crohn's is like comparing apples to oranges. Actually, I'd rather have FMS. My son has ulcerative colitis and I was afraid we were going to lose him! He was sick for 3-4 years and had many hospitalizations and surgery. You are also at higher risk for cancer with Crohn's and colitis. That said, I think that the issue here is not which disease is worse, but the fact that you and your friend deal with your illnesses in your own ways. Tell your friend that you are not in a competition - you can't compare yourself to her and you will take care of yourself the best way you know how. Tell her you have to take one day at a time and do the best you can.

    Annette2
  5. ranger

    ranger New Member

    You are absolutely correct. Crohn's sound awful. Plus, I have no idea what she felt of herself when she referred me to 'get out there anyway'. At this time I think she is in a sort of 'remission' from it, and was referring to the past. I don't know her that well. She is a leader at our church. But you're so right, I see now, that we can't compare the two. Does it matter which is considered worse? No. Thanks.
    Ranger