Publish 23 December 2021
By Kevin RR Williams
The 30-Foot Disease
Many people enjoy going on trips. But your trips to the toilet with Crohn’s disease are not joyful. Focus on the good news for a moment. Under proper treatment, you can lead a relatively normal life with this hereditary, environmental, or immune disorder.
Affecting young and old, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) encompasses many ailments, including Crohn’s disease. Inflammation and ulcers can appear anywhere along the digestive tract—from the mouth to the anus. This covers an average length of 30 feet (9 meters). 
Most often, ulcers or fistulas flare up within the intestines. Lesions can tunnel into nearby organs, causing constriction, bleeding, and infections. Other symptoms include bloating and sometimes bloody diarrhea.  You can see why toilet visits are unpleasant.
Internal organ inflammation can manifest in joints, eyes, and the skin. It is as though hidden organs are trying to get your attention any way possible. So multifarious treatment may involve physicians with different specialties. An alert doctor may ask questions about bowel habits after hearing your complaints of rashes and joint pain. Contact your personal physician if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody stool
- Nausea with vomiting
- Ongoing diarrhea
- Unexplained fever lasting days
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms overlap a very different IBD called ulcerative colitis, which primarily affects the large intestines and rectum. A fever, common in Crohn’s, is indicative of severe ulcerative colitis. Hence, each symptom may suggest different stages and treatment plans based on specific diagnosis.
Steroids and immunosuppressant medications can slow down the progression of the disease. By stimulating your immune system, biologics target specific proteins in your body that cause inflammation.  Some patients require surgery.
With the range of treatments available, it is important to work closely with a gastroenterology doctor. Close monitoring can prevent overlooking colorectal cancer, which has overlapping symptoms with Crohn’s Disease. 
Tobacco smokers are 200% more likely to develop Crohn’s disease as nonsmokers. So avoiding cigars and cigarettes is a preventative measure.  A nutritionist may recommend anti-inflammatory foods and probiotics.
Anal fissures can make sitting uncomfortable. You should use a seat cushion and avoid sitting for long intervals. An adjustable sit-stand desk is most helpful. Under direction of a doctor, exercises that strengthen your glutes may help minimize anal stretching and fissures. Aerobic exercise for weight reduction can relieve the amount of pressure on the sensitive area when sitting.
Crohn’s disease, named after the late gastroenterologist, Burrill B. Crohn, flares up in episodes. Discuss treatment options with your gastroenterologist. The goal is to reduce the frequency of episodes or push them into remission. This allows you to focus on your work, family, and take occasional refreshing trips, without sitting too long.
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