Crohn’s disease is a chronic medical condition that affects your digestive system. It can be considered to be a group of long-sustaining health conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease. The Crohn’s disease originates when our body’s immune system starts attacking the gut, causing inflammation in small and large intestines, or in any part of the digestive tract.
Although it can develop in individuals of any age, Crohn’s disease is more likely to develop in individuals aged between 15 and 35 years. Women are equally likely to develop the condition as men. This article will explain what the disease is and how it affects women in particular. Some of the symptoms that affect women in particular are:
1. Irregular periods
Crohn’s disease is known to cause irregular periods in women. A flare-up of the disease can impact the hormone levels, affect the nutrition,and even elevate stress levels in the body, which all contribute towards impacting the menstrual cycle. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can also hamper the normal functioning of hormones in your body. Some other common symptoms, like diarrhea or loss of appetite can impact the amount of nutrients that your body gets. Crohn’s disease can also trigger an increase in the stress levels because the associated symptoms are often uncomfortable and impact the individual’s abilities to carry out everyday tasks. Women with inflammatory bowel disease typically witness heightened symptoms during a couple of weeks before and during their period.
2. Iron deficiency
Women with inflammatory bowel disease are also at higher risk exposure to the development of an iron deficiency in their body, as compared with women who do not suffer from the condition. This is usually attributed to the bleeding in or from the intestine or simply due to a lack of absorption of iron in the body. Sometimes,a heavier menstrual cycle may also have an impact on the iron levels in the body, thus, women who have both inflammatory bowel disease and heavy periods should consult their doctor about the possibility of developing an iron deficiency.
3. Fertility issues
Many research studies have shown that women who in a stage of Crohn’s Disease remission will have the similar rate of fertility as the general women without the condition. However, this doesn’t really apply to those women whose disease is still active, or for those women who may have recently had a treatment surgery for the condition. Such women are more prone to having difficulties trying to conceive. Women (with a known Crohn’s disease condition) who are planning to conceive should consult their doctor before hand, because there may be chance that some Crohn’s disease treatment options can affect their fertility. Women with inflammatory bowel disease tend to do just fine during pregnancy if their disease is in a state of remission at the time they become pregnant. However, if a female conceives during an inflammatory bowel disease condition, the disease may stay active and even get worse during pregnancy.Most of the medications prescribed for treating Crohn’s disease are typically rated as safe to use during pregnancy and even breastfeeding, but there are certain exceptions depending upon individual conditions, so it is always advisable to consult a doctor.
Dyspareunia is a medical condition when you experience pain while having sex. If it pains during sex, it may be indicative of the fact that the Crohn’s Disease may be still active in or around the part of the digestive tract that surrounds the vagina or the anus. It may also be indicative of a fistula which is a tiny abnormal passage that develops between two internal organs in the body, usually between the intestine and the bowel.
Other Generic Symptoms
Inflammation in the digestive tract can cause damage to organs and tissues alike, resulting in a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms of Crohn’s:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
However, there are some other less common conditions that can affect women. Women with Crohn’sdisease are more prone to pre-cancerous developments in cells around the lining of the cervix (cervical dysplasia). Cervical dysplasia is a known risk factor for cervical cancer.
Mediation Treatment Measures
Although the causes of inflammatory bowel disease are not yet properly known in medical science, and there is still no conclusive cure. However, there are various medications which can help you keep the inflammation in control and put the disease in the state of remission for as long as possible. The type of medication varies from one individual to another and depends upon the severity of the symptoms they are experiencing. Usual treatment options include the following:
- Antibiotics:Antibiotics are usually prescribed to treat infections or complications caused because of a lowered immunity in the body.
- Aminosalicylates: Aminosalicylates are drugs that decrease the extent of inflammation in the lining of the intestines.Doctors typically prescribe aminosalicylates to treat symptoms which are mild to moderate in nature.
- Steroids: Steroids help in reducing the inflammation by suppressing the immune system of the body which is causing the inflammation by attacking the gut. Steroids are prescribed as a short-term or temporary solution for individuals who are experiencing moderate to severe flares.Steroids can be understood as drugs that are meant to suppress the condition by force.
- Immuno-modulators: Also known as immune modifiers, these drugs also suppress the body’s immune system to lower down the inflammation.
- BiologicTherapies (biologics): The aimof biologics is to target a specific pathway in the body’s immune system to lower down the inflammation. Your doctor may recommend the use of biologics if in case other treatments have not been successful in managing your condition.
Some of the medication scan have moderate to adverse side effects, depending upon person to person. Itis also possible that some of the drugs may interact with other drugs an individualis taking for another medical condition, thereby resulting in discomfort and side-effects. Hence it always advisable to get yourself well examined before beginning the treatment.