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Smokers are more likely to get Crohn's disease after bowel surgery
In general, it should now be known that smoking is not good for your health. For example, smoking is by far the most important risk factor for lung cancer. Researchers have now found that smoking also increases the risk of Crohn's disease after bowel surgery.
Scientists from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland have now found that smokers who have had bowel surgery have an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology".
Study examines 240 subjects over a three-year period
For their new study, the researchers examined 240 patients with Crohn's disease in the United Kingdom. According to the experts, these subjects were medically monitored for a period of three years after bowel surgery. Crohn's disease usually occurs when the body's immune system attacks the lining of the digestive tract and the intestines. The disease causes severe inflammation, say the doctors. These can then cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and loss of appetite.
Frequent relapses after bowel surgery
As a rule, patients are initially treated with medication to suppress their immune systems. However, the results of the new study show that more than half of the patients with Crohn's disease ultimately need surgery to remove the affected intestinal tract, the authors explain. However, such surgery does not permanently cure Crohn's disease and relapses are common. According to researchers at the University of Edinburgh, smokers are much more likely to develop Crohn's disease again after the operation.
Does traditional Chinese medicine help with Crohn's disease?
What are the alternative ways to treat Crohn's disease? Treatment with medication is certainly widespread. But there are also medical professionals who rely on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for treatment. TCM in Crohn's disease can help the body re-train the immune system.
Some drugs are ineffective in non-smokers
The scientists also examined whether so-called thiopurines (e.g. purinethol and Purixan) prevent relapse after the operation. This type of medication is often used to treat Crohn's disease. Amazingly, these drugs reduced the risk of Crohn's disease relapse only in smokers, the scientists say. However, this advantage could not be found in non-smokers.
New drugs to treat Crohn's disease
The results of the study suggest that smoking patients with Crohn's disease should receive thiopurine immediately after surgery. But there is no evidence that using these drugs does the same for non-smokers, the doctors explain. Scientists discovered some time ago that there are new treatment options for chronic intestinal inflammation. On the one hand, the active ingredient Usteknuman is supposed to help effectively against Crohn's disease, a second new approach relies on SMAD7 antisense oligonucleotide.
More precise medical monitoring is necessary for non-smokers
Our study confirmed that people with Crohn's disease should never smoke, explains author Professor Jack Satsangi from the University of Edinburgh. This is the best way for those affected to prevent relapse. Non-smokers should simply be better monitored after bowel surgery. In the first year after surgery, close medical check-up is the best course of action. Professor Satsangi explains that this is more effective than immediately following drug therapy. (as)