Named after the physician who described the disease in a paper written in the 1930's; Morbus Crohn's, better known as Crohn's Disease, is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the intestines. Though the cause is unknown, scientists believe it is caused by an infection of bacteria called mycobacterium. Living with a father who has had Crohn's for twenty-plus years, I can personally tell you that it is one roller coaster ride you don't want to be on.
Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus; but it most commonly occurs in the small intestine, medically speaking in the ileum. People with Crohn's tend to have abnormalities in the immune system; which then causes the inflammation of the intestine. Crohn's is a very difficult disease to diagnose; it is often mistaken for appendicitis. There are many ways to test for Crohn's; the most common being a colonoscopy. During a colonoscopy your doctor would insert a long, flexible tube; which is linked to a TV monitor, into the anus viewing the large intestine. Other test may include: blood tests, testing a stool sample, upper GI (Gastrointestinal Tract), and if those test shows Crohn's x-rays of the upper and lower digestive tract are necessary to view how big of an area is infected. The symptoms of Crohn's patient vary widely, but diarrhea is the most common. Other symptoms may include: malnutrition, joint pain, fever, fatigue , anal sores, bloating, skin lesions, and anal drainage.
For a person with Crohn's, living a "normal" lifestyle is impossible. From talking with my father, he has told me that he does not even like leaving the house, because he never knows when he will have to use the restroom. It limits the amount of physical activity on can do, because too much stress affects the speed of digestion. Living a healthy life may be difficult because the loss of vitamins. Your doctor may recommend taking multivitamins, or other dietary supplements.