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When it comes to an inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease, one of the first things people will notice is increased stool production. What is behind this mechanism and what treatments are available is what I will focus on that may help.

As we have already seen on this search of frequent bowel movements, there are many possible underlying causes like the foods that increase bowel movements, an underlying pathology like Celiac disease, or even something less evident like excessive coffee drinking. Another condition that is rumored to lead to frequent bowel movements would be a condition like Crohn's disease. In this article, let's take a closer look at the possible connection between Crohn's disease and frequent bowel movements and what mechanisms are at play. 

What is Crohn's Disease? 

Crohn's disease, much like Celiac disease, is a condition marked by the inflammation of your intestinal tract. What differs between these two diseases is where the inflammation is located and what is the underlying cause of the disease, but both can lead to intestinal problems that can drastically change the quality of life for a patient. Crohn's disease is the term given for any inflammation along your digestive tract but in most cases, patients will have symptoms that are most intense in their lower small intestine in a part of your gut called the ileum. 

The disease is associated with ulcers that can form in the smooth muscle lining of the intestinal tract. What is characteristic of this type of disease is that the lesions will be in what we refer to as a "cobblestone pattern" in medicine, which is simply a fancier way of saying that some parts of your intestine will be actively bleeding and with ulcers while other portions may be completely unaffected. [1]  

Even if epidemiological studies vary in the frequency of this disease, what is evident from the data is that the incidence of this disease is increasing worldwide. The frequency of the disease has almost doubled in the last 30 years. This could be misleading and may just be because of better diagnostic studies to detect the disease but could also be because of more common DNA changes that could lead to Crohn's disease. Recent data shows that this disease can be seen in about 9 in 100,000 patients with a disproportionally higher incidence in patients aged 15 to 29. [2]

Is There a Connection Between Crohn's and Frequent Bowel Movements? 

You only have to go as far as the chief symptoms of Crohn's disease to be able to find that there is a predisposition to have frequent bowel movements with this condition. One of the first cardinal presentations that patients with Crohn's disease will likely present with will be bloody diarrhea [3]. The underlying mechanism of what is causing the diarrhea is what makes this disease so frustrating for patients suffering from the condition. Unlike conditions we have examined in the past like the connection between Celiac disease and frequent bowel movements, what we see with this type of inflammatory bowel disease is that symptoms will not improve alone after a dietary change [4]. Crohn's disease is marked by a combination of inflammatory and non-inflammatory changes that lead to diarrhea you will see when you have Crohn's disease [5]. 

To get to the point quickly, there is currently no cure for Crohn's disease. Even with surgical intervention to remove part of the intestine that had been infected will only provide temporary relief. Because Crohn's disease can occur anywhere in the digestive tract, from your mouth to your anus, cutting out parts of your body will only lead to the disease coming back in different parts of your body after a few months to years. [6]

Even if you may not be able to rid yourself of the condition entirely, what you can attempt to do is to try to manage the flare-ups of Crohn's to make your life more enjoyable. One of the staples of this therapy would be taking a combination of corticosteroids, immunosuppressants, and a medication called 5-ASA [7]. In some patients, this may be enough, and the symptoms will subside, but for the vast majority of cases, this will be a continuous and frustrating struggle between brief treatment success and a return of symptoms [8]. 

There are newer medications that are currently being tested to provide a more permanent remission of symptoms. If you are a patient who finds that you are suffering from Crohn's disease without symptomatic relief, try to find support groups who can pass along information about where these current studies are being conducted. Even if they are experimental, they are designed to last longer and provide better outcomes for patients compared to standard treatment options so it may be worth the risk. [9

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