Understanding Crohn's disease

Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes parts of the digestive system to swell, and develop ulcers. Crohn's is a lifelong disease, and doctors still aren't totally sure what causes it. According to WebMD, they do know it runs in families - often, those with Eastern European and Jewish backgrounds tend to develop it more - and that it might be caused by an abnormal reaction to bacteria.
The disease is often found in the small intestine or colon, but it can also can be found in the large intestine up to the esophagus. It's a serious disease that requires a lot of attention, so it's important to know the signs and symptoms so you can get the help you need if diagnosed.
Signs and symptoms
According to the Mayo Clinic, the frequent signs and symptoms associated with Crohn's disease are: 
- Frequent Diarrhea often multiple times a day
- Fever and fatigue which is often caused by inflammation or infection in the gastrointestinal tract.
- Abdominal pain and cramping. Having inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract can affect how your body normally moves food through this area of your body - leading to pain that is everything from intense to light cramping or nausea.
- Blood in your stool
- Mouth sores
Reduced appetite and weight loss
Perianal disease 
Someone with severe Crohn's disease might also experience the following symptoms:
- Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
- And for children, delayed growth or sexual development
It's important to speak to your doctor right away if you experience any of the signs or symptoms above. 
There is still a lot to learn about Crohn's disease, and that includes what causes it. Doctors do know that you're more likely to develop the disease if members of your family have it, and they also know it's often linked to Eastern European Jewish descent. 
Crohn's disease is also thought to be caused by your body fighting off bacteria, or even an abnormal reaction to your body's own cells in the digestive tract. 
Treating Crohn's
Right now there is no cure for Crohn's disease - so doctors are limited to treatment via drug therapy or surgery. The Mayo Clinic explains that everyone's body deals with the disease differently, so each treatment is personalized. Some people might be recommended to have diet changes, while others might have to undergo medical treatment or even surgery.
Sometimes doctors might start drug therapy that attacks the inflammation strongly, then wean the patient down to less aggressive drugs. Other times the opposite might be the case and the doctor might want to start with milder drugs and work up to stronger treatment. The goal of the medical treatment is to help with symptom relief, and ideally get the patient into remission. That isn't always the case though, and it's important to speak to your doctor about your treatment plan.
Surgery doesn't cure Crohn's - instead it removes the damaged part of your digestive tract and connects it back to sections that are healthy, and functioning well. The Mayo Clinic also says you might also have to undergo surgery to close fistulas or frain abscesses. 
If you experience any of the signs and symptoms of Crohn's, it's important to make an appointment with your doctor to talk about diagnosis and a possible treatment plan.
Resources Mayo Clinic and WebMD
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