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Department of Gastrointestinal Science

Know The Difference Crohns Disease or Upset Stomach

Posted On: Dec 27, 2019

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Features of the stomach

The stomach is an organ which is located in the upper abdomen between the small intestine and the oesophagus. The stomach performs functions such as destroying foreign agents, helping in digestion, sending signals to the brain when it’s full and taking in and breaking down food. Besides all the functions, it also secretes an acid which acts on harmful bacteria to prevent infections. The stomach also helps break down amino acids and absorbs glucose for the body to use.

Upset Stomach

An upset stomach is characterised by inflammation of the intestines and the stomach lining. It can be caused due to viruses, parasites and even due to bacteria like salmonella. An upset stomach can also occur due to allergic reactions to certain types of food, long-term consumption of alcohol or caffeine and eating too much fatty foods.

Symptoms of Upset Stomach

A few of the symptoms of an upset stomach are:

  • Nausea
  • Loose stool or diarrhoea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramps
  • Body aches.


Treatments for an Upset Stomach

Most cases of upset stomach can be treated without any visit to the doctor. The treatment should include dietary management and oral fluid replacement. A few of the things which should be included in the treatment for an upset stomach are:

  • Drinking plenty of water or clear fluids. It also includes avoiding alcohol, caffeine and solid foods.


NOTE: A few of the non-caffeinated drinks are 7-Up, decaffeinated tea, clear broth and diluted juices (like apple juice).

  • Eating bland foods such as boiled potatoes, white rice, bananas, yoghurt, cottage cheese, and toasted white bread. The person suffering from an upset stomach should avoid taking the following foods until the stomach is back to normal:
  • Raw vegetables
  • Fatty foods
  • Spicy foods
  • High fibre foods
  • Caffeine and alcohol
  • Uncultured dairy products
  • Medication can also treat upset stomach but it should be prescribed by the doctor.


Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic condition which causes the inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI). The disease can go beyond GI and can also cause inflammation in different parts such as the intestines, mouth, oesophagus, anus and colon. Crohn’s disease can also cause an upset stomach.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

The Crohn’s disease can cause an upset stomach. Hence, the patient with Crohn’s disease can experience symptoms which are related to an upset stomach along with:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Sensation of complete evacuation
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle in women
  • Fatigue
  • Anaemia
  • Joint pain


Causes of Crohn’s Disease

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still unknown. According to many experts, it is a condition which occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. A few of the reasons which seem to play a major role in Crohn’s disease are:

  • Genes and medical history.
  • Environmental factors.
  • Over-reaction of the body towards normal bacteria in the intestine.
  • Smoking


NOTE: Crohn’s disease mainly occurs in people between the age group of 15-35.

Treatments for Crohn’s Disease:

  • Diets and Nutrition

There has been no specific diet shown to treat or worsen Crohn’s disease. It varies from person to person about specific food which one should have to make Crohn’s symptoms better. However, one can try things which are mentioned above in the treatments of an upset stomach to help ease symptoms.

  • Medication

One can also take medication to treat a few of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Consulting a doctor is the better option to understand which medication is good for the treatment.

  • Surgery

Some patients with Crohn’s disease may need surgery to remove the diseased portion of the intestine if the medication is unable to treat. Surgeries which may be done include:

  • Large bowel resection
  • Small bowel resection
  • Total abdominal colectomy
  • Total proctocolectomy
  • Ileostomy.


Outlook of the differences

The symptoms of an upset stomach can go away with time and proper care. However, the symptoms of Crohn’s disease can recur without warning. Hence if a person is experiencing persistent symptoms, then it is better to see a doctor as soon as possible. There is no proper cure for Crohn’s disease but it can be treated with proper medication and lifestyle changes.

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