The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard About Crohn’s Disease

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It is among the rare group of diseases that cause severe inflammatory disease in the bowel. The worst thing about Crohn’s disease is that its prevalence is rising in the US and western societies, and yet none seem to know the reason behind it.

When people and medical specialist do not know the exact cause of disease or health conditions, they would often come up with too many recommendations and theories. Though most of them may have substance, some of them may be terribly incorrect.

Doctor talking to his female senior patient

In fact, it is quite common to get wrong advice in the early phase, as Crohn’s remains a challenging disease to diagnose.

Crohn’s disease starts at a young age, and it often begins with vague symptoms related to intestinal health and loss of appetite. Thus Katlyn was only 19 when she visited her GP with symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease. She was reluctant to eat because of severe abdominal pain and bloating. However, her GP put the diagnosis of eating disorder, saying that she is not eating enough to lose weight and thus must start taking high-calorie diet to counter malnutrition.

Another commonly wrong advice is that it is an autoimmune disease. In some cases, it may have specific symptoms of the autoimmune disorder. Some young patient may feel pain in joints, general malaise, skin rashes, along with the gastrointestinal symptoms. Moreover, an anti-inflammatory therapy used in rheumatic diseases may help to relieve the symptoms of Crohn’s, thus further confusing the situation. However, Crohn’s is not an autoimmune disease. It is instead caused due to a defect in the immune system. The exact underlying mechanism is not understood by the medicine.

It is a common stomach flu, is often the opinion of the GPs when a person first goes to a doctor with gastroenterological symptoms. People suffering from Crohn’s are prone to flares and remissions. Thus doctor may treat them like stomach flu, and it may seem that things are improving after the treatment. However, in Crohn’s things would repeat themselves. Therefore in worst case GP may prescribe antibiotics and probiotics. This type of therapy may have particular benefit in Crohn’s as infective agents are always present, but treatment with antibiotics or probiotics is not specific to it.

Dairy products on wooden table

Another commonly wrong advice is that all may be due to allergy or failure to digest milk. Lactose intolerance is common in western societies. Thus if a person has too much milk in a diet, some people may tell to avoid all the milk products. Though it may reduce the bloating or may give some temporary symptomatic relief, it would rarely result in complete wellbeing.

Finally, some may advise going on a gluten-free diet. Celiac disease or gluten intolerance is rising; it is difficult to diagnose, and these conditions are chronic too and have symptoms of malnutrition. But these conditions are far less severe than Crohn’s, and they do not cause fever. A gluten-free diet is often deficient in whole grains, that may worsen the symptoms of malnutrition.



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