We make a fistful of poo puns, and laugh our butts off as we clock-in and clock-out here in Pooville, but there are moments we get serious and want to spark and converse in constructive conversations. One cause most near and _rear_ to our hearts is Crohn’s disease. We dedicate time, money, service hours and our heart to those battling the uphill fight.

You may know someone living with Crohn’s disease, perhaps you are living with the disease yourself. Unfortunately, the condition is still ignorant to millions, and today’s blog post is dedicated to shedding light on the condition affecting 1.6 million Americans.

Crohn’s is a type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. According to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, “Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon, but it may affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine.” Not to be confused with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease can affect the entire thickness of the bowel wall, and threaten the quality of life for those battling it.

Crohn’s disease was named after Dr. Burrill B. Crohn who first described the disease in 1932 with Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer. The cause for Crohn’s disease has yet to be discovered, though it was once believed diet and stress were responsible. Advanced research points to a malfunctioning immune system, genetics and environment has clear factors for Crohn’s disease. (Healthline)

The signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease include “persistent diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent need to move bowels, abdominal cramps and pain, sensation of incomplete evacuation and constipation.” (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) Men and women are both equally susceptible to being affected, however, it is adolescents and young adults most often plagued by the condition. Those living with Crohn’s are reminded each day, as Crohn’s makes going to the bathroom a much more daunting, even at times embarrassing task due to the frequency and odor of defecation. Additionally, when untreated, patients can experience significant weight loss, become more prone to sickness, headaches, joint pain, and headaches. More unfortunate? Thousands of cases go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years before coming to a proper diagnosis.

While there is no cure at the moment for Crohn’s, there are treatments. Options include medication designed to suppress your immune system’s abnormal inflammation. In addition to controlling inflammation, medication is used to help reduce the frequency of flare-ups patients with Crohn’s disease often experience. Additionally, many physicians will advise patients to adopt a diet with more “bland” foods rather than spicy foods.

If you think you may be suffering symptoms similar to Crohn’s disease, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.