Crohn’s disease was first described by medical professionals about a hundred years ago. However, the disease has not always been perfectly understood even in the medical fraternity.
Continuous scientific studies have led to advancements regarding uncovering the cause, coming up with effective treatment options and ultimately finding a cure.
As a dedicated physician, you are tasked with the responsibility of helping your patients separate facts from fiction.
Here 7 things you should be helping your patients unlearn regarding Crohn’s disease.
1. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn’s Disease are the Same
The truth is that both IBS and Crohn’s disease affect sections of the human gastrointestinal tract. As such, patients suffering from either of them are likely to experience persistent diarrhea.
However, that is where the similarities stop with the two conditions. IBS does not cause swelling in the gastrointestinal tract but Crohn’s disease does.
Treatment of the two is different as well so anyone who suspects that they are suffering from either of the two conditions should visit a doctor to get the right diagnosis and suitable treatment.
2. Some Personality Traits Put you at Risk of Crohn’s Disease
In the past, it was believed that having strong emotions, psychological conditions, or personality traits was the cause of Crohn’s disease. This is simply untrue.
Therefore, if a patient suffers from depression or anxiety, you want to assure them that it is not the cause for their Crohn’s disease diagnosis.
Although the cause of the disease is still unknown, research in microbiology, immunology, and genetics has helped in the application of effective treatment.
3. Crohn’s Disease is Caused by Bad Eating Habits
Granted, patients need to be on a healthy diet, but by no means is a bad diet the cause of Crohn’s disease. At least, there is no evidence to support that claim.
That said, most patients will realize that certain foods worsen their symptoms. You, therefore, want to encourage your patients to keep a food diary so that it can be easier to establish what foods worsen the disease.
4. There is no Relationship Between Crohn’s Disease and Smoking
True, Crohn’s disease is not caused by smoking on its own, but it does increase the chances of developing the condition.
Patients with Crohn’s disease may notice that smoking worsens the symptoms and causes flare-ups. Most people with the disease may have to undergo surgery, but those who smoke are likely to need more than one surgical procedure.
Let your patients know that smoking is highly discouraged as long as they have the disease and if they find it hard to quit, you may go a step further in helping them seek help and support with the same.
5. Nothing Can be Done About the Symptoms
Crohn’s disease comes with some embarrassing symptoms such as constant diarrhea and the best thing any patient can do is to consult with their physician so that they can get on an effective treatment plan.
As a doctor, you are in the best position to share tips for managing the disease seeing as you have helped many other patients suffering from the same.
You can encourage them to plan time away from their homes by identifying restrooms they can use and carrying extra wet wipes, and underwear.
6. Crohn’s Disease Seldom Affects Kids
It would be great if such a claim was true but unfortunately, that is not the case. Many children and teenagers suffer from Crohn’s disease as well.
In fact, about 20% of adults suffering from the disease were diagnosed as kids and they most likely developed complications that delayed puberty or stunted their growth.
7. Depression Caused by the Disease Should be Disregarded
As a physician, you understand that living with a chronic condition such as Crohn’s disease is not just about the physical. It affects mental health as well.
Just living and dealing with the symptoms of the disease can cause depression, which should also be addressed. It gets harder for those who had depression before being diagnosed.
Patients should not be forced to disregard feelings of depression that may be brought about by Crohn’s disease. Encourage your patients to share their feelings, talk to a therapist, and even join a support group.
For you to have an easier time treating Crohn’s disease patients, you want to ensure that they have the facts right. By debunking the aforementioned common myths about the disease, that should be easy to do.