Understanding Crohn’s Psoriasis Connection
Blood in Stool
The most obvious and consistent manifestation of ulcerative colitis is the presence of blood in the stool. This occurs in almost every individual with ulcerative colitis. In fact, if someone with IBD has never had blood in the stools, it is quite possible that the condition is Crohn’s disease rather than ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease is not always associated with blood in stool.
By Sharon Dobson
Herbs may be an ideal way to treat Crohn’s disease, but what should a sufferer do if they have crohns psoriasis as well?
Studies have found that there is an estimated five-fold increase in psoriasis for those with Crohn’s disease. To put that into better perspective, approximately 2% of Americans are affected by psoriasis, yet more than 11% of Crohn’s sufferers are affected by psoriasis. It seems more and more likely that a link between Crohn’s disease and psoriasis exists.
What is psoriasis? Psoriasis is a common skin condition that causes skin redness and irritation, a chronic condition that affects the joints. It typically causes red scaly patches on the skin that looks like a severe rash. The scales on the red patch of skin have a silvery hue and are known as psoriatic plaques and are the result of inflammation and excessive skin production. The most common areas of the skin that are affected by psoriasis include the knees and elbows. However, psoriasis can occur anywhere on the body, even on the genitals or the scalp. Like Crohn’s, psoriasis is not contagious.
What is the link? Researchers believe the crohns psoriasis link lies within a person’s genes. Just like Crohn’s, psoriasis is the result of a malfunctioning immune system and is considered an immune-mediated condition. If a person has a history of psoriasis within their family, and these genes have been passed on, this person may not only be at risk for psoriasis, but also another immune-mediated condition such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or Crohn’s disease.
In fact, research suggests that the risk of developing psoriasis and/or another immune-mediated condition, especially diabetes or Crohn’s disease, significantly increases in those who have a close blood relative with psoriasis.
If it is true that Crohn’s and psoriasis are caused by the same immune system malfunction, it would likely be best to treat crohns psoriasis as one condition instead of as two separate problems. Although those who have psoriasis and those who have Crohn’s will experience different symptoms, and each condition affects separate areas of the body, they still maintain some similarities in regards to flare ups.
For instance, stress and alcohol consumption are both prime candidates for triggering a Crohn’s and psoriasis flare up. In addition, some believe that a person’s diet can cause an active case of psoriasis, and diet also plays an important role in regulating Crohn’s.
How can crohns psoriasis be treated together? Even though you may need to treat these problems separately, certain medications such as Remicade (Infliximab) may be able to treat them together. Separate studies have found Remicade to be effective at treating both Crohn’s Disease and psoriasis. The reason is because Remicade is an anti-TNF medication. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is known to be the culprit behind the inflammation that occurs in Crohn’s and psoriasis.
Remicade sooths certain parts of the body’s immune system that are thought to aggravate the condition and cause symptoms. Essentially, Remicade has been designed to improve the natural response the body has towards disease.
Remicade is a powerful crohns psoriasis treatment and is administered through intravenous injection over a defined treatment schedule. Many participants in both the Crohn’s and psoriasis studies successfully achieved remission of their conditions with no or few adverse side effects.
Remicade is not for everyone, so be sure to talk to your doctor about possible medications if you suffer from crohns psoriasis. You should also find out if there are any other treatments or alternative therapies that your doctor can recommend which may help you attain relief.
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