Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of the digestive tract that can affect the walls of the entire digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. On a daily basis, this disease often experienced as “shameful” makes life impossible for some patients.
In France, approximately 120,000 people suffer from Crohn’s disease. At the moment, the cause of this chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive tract is not known. In patients, this inflammation often evolves through phases of activity, flare-ups. Generally, the peak frequency is between 20 and 30 years old but it can start at any age.
Doctor Christian Recchia lists the main symptoms of this disease: great fatigue, lack of appetite, digestive disorders, alternating diarrhea/constipation, intolerance to all forms of food. “Crohn’s disease does not kill. But she is very tired“, underlines the doctor. Symptoms often experienced as “shameful” by many patients, whose daily life and social interactions may be disrupted.
Dr. Recchia explains that this pathology is treated with rather heavy therapies. “It is necessary to have absolutely strict rules of hygiene of life: no tobacco, no alcohol, not too much sugar. What matters is also the practice of a physical activity for well-being (yoga, swimming pool, etc.)“. Before completing: “After the diagnosis, it generally takes two or three years to get back on track with the establishment of a therapy of well-being which must always be accompanied by a classic therapy. A necessary complementarity for the well-being of patients“.
Placement of a stoma
Some patients whose digestive system is too damaged must live with a stoma. It is a surgical diversion of a natural conduit that no longer manages to perform certain functions such as the evacuation of stool and urine.
Like Juliette Mercier, whose disease was diagnosed at the age of 15, and who had to undergo surgery to remove a piece of intestine. The healthy part was then sewn on the abdomen. “On my stomach, I have a small piece of intestine sticking out on which I put a bag that I change every day and which will collect the stools.“, details the young woman. Living with a stoma can cause a feeling of shame but, on a daily basis, it often allows patients to live more normally. “I have returned to a normal life, I no longer have any symptoms, I do what I want and I feel like a healthy person“.
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