Crohns disease

Crohns disease changed me at 23

A friend once told me, “You’re invincible when you’re 23.” A thought I shrugged off at the time, but it came rushing back when, weeks after my 23rd birthday, I became sick and then sicker.

It started as the flu, but by Valentine’s Day I was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas with abdominal pain, a 103-degree fever, diarrhea, no appetite and a skyrocketing white blood cell count.

A few days later, my dad, who had flown from Kansas, and a nurse were persuading me to force the bitter lemon taste of magnesium citrate down my throat to prepare for my first colonoscopy.

The anesthesiologist told me that I would be put to sleep using Propofol. “It’s what killed Michael Jackson, but we’ll take good care of you.”

Results came back, but they were nonspecific. “Get rest. You’ll be better in a week or two.”

I lay in bed. I slept. I did not eat. I was too tired to watch Netflix.

A couple of weeks later, I was back in line at the Presby emergency room. Again I struggled to keep down the magnesium citrate that would cleanse my intestines. And again my dad kept watch over me from a cot at the foot of the bed.

“You have Crohn’s disease,” said my gastroenterologist as he scanned the room for a reaction.

“It is an autoimmune disease,” he said. “There is no known cure.”

Crohn’s disease may affect as many as 700,000 Americans, according to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Researchers think it is genetic, though no one else in my family has been diagnosed. It is caused by an increase in TNF proteins in the immune system. The body’s ramped-up immune system attacks the GI system, just like it would attack an infection. This leads to high fevers, diarrhea, inflammation and ulcers. The ulcers can eat through the intestinal wall and cause your abdominal cavity to become septic.

Read More: How a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease changed me at 23

Omaha Medical Groups

Omaha Medical Groups Join Together

Two Omaha medical groups have joined forces to combat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Midwest Gastrointestinal Associates, PC, (MGI), and Colon and Rectal Surgery, Inc. announced Tuesday plans to open Nebraska’s only clinically integrated facility dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The center will be called The Nebraska Crohn’s and Colitis Center of Excellence.

Officials with the center say they hope to utilize an evidence-based, collaborative approach between gastroenterologists, colorectal surgeons, nutritionists, case managers and pathologists for the comprehensive care of patients with IBD.

IBD encompasses a group of disorders which affect the intestine causing chronic inflammatory changes and result in abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite and multiple other symptoms.

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common IBD conditions. The cause of inflammatory bowel disease remains unknown.

The Nebraska Crohn’s and Colitis Center of Excellence will be located near 90th and Dodge.

Read More: Omaha Medical Groups Join Together

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

IBS or IBD what’s the difference?

Do you know the difference between IBS and IBD?

It can be tricky, all those Is and Bs, combined with the fact that few of us feel comfortable discussing our bowels normally, let alone if they’re irritable or diseased. So it’s no wonder they can get muddled up in people’s minds.

Here’s our straightforward guide to each: definitions, symptoms to look out for and treatments for both.

IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

What is it?

Affecting the colon and the large intestine, IBS is a term used to encompass a range of gut-related symptoms that cannot be fully explained, or show no direct medical abnormality.

What causes it?

Nobody is quite sure. It is often brought on by psychological triggers such as stress, major life changes and acute anxiety.

However, many also see it purely as a problem with digestion, where your body hasn’t set the right pace for passing food through the gut.

[Related story: 6 top tips to beat irritable bowel syndrome the natural way]

Who gets it?

According to IBS Network: “The quick answer is ‘we all do’, though some people get it more severely than others.” They suggest that 10-20% of people who live in Western countries are suffering from the condition at any one time, but young women and twice as likely to develop it as men and older people.

What are the symptoms?

The condition varies in severity from person to person and can last from a few months up to a lifetime. Symptoms include:

Stomach cramping and spasms
Diarrhoea and constipation
Noisy stomach sounds
Excessive wind
Incontinence and often needing the toilet urgently
Never feeling as though bowels have been fully emptied
Backache and joint pain
Bladder issues
Pain during sex
Anxiety and depression

Read More: IBS or IBD