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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 832
   Posted 5/17/2009 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I have been thinking.

Is there something that you think was a trigger point for your crohn's, before you ever got sick.
Like some sickness you had or something...

This is my story:

I was a really healthy kid but in 2006 I was diagnosed with pre cancer cells on my cervix had to have op to have them removed.
After that I got endometriosis and the doc thought that I got that because my cervix was not the way it used to be.
And the Endo attacks my immune system so that i am more likely to have my crohn's go active..

Just on theory I have for my case..
24 year old female
Diagnosed with Crohn's disease in December 2008..
Medication - Asacol, Remicade, Entocort, Cipralex and Cerazette.
My wonderful dogs :) ~ ~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1768
   Posted 5/17/2009 11:34 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't have a theory, but I tend to not believe it's mostly genetic like some think because I have NO ONE in my family with CD besides me.

I think there's some kind of environmental factor also, because for 3 years, I got obstructions twice a year, in July and December. My surgeon said he believed also that there was some environmental factor, because he saw patients in spring and fall typically.

One day maybe they'll figure this out...

31 yr old female-dx with Crohn's in '97 after emergency resection and appendectomy, 2nd resection '05
Currently on Humira, Prilosec, Effexor, Seroquel, Calcium, Vit D, sublingual B12; phenergan, ultram, clonazepam as needed

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 5/17/2009 12:19 PM (GMT -7)   
You should try reading Donna Nakazawa's 'Autoimmune Epidemic' It has a lot of theory and explanation as to what could be a trigger for our disease. The two main ones being environmental as in body burdens i.e. toxins and then viruses or bacteria that trigger an autoimmune response.
Many people have been linked to having Epstein-Barr virus before being diagnosed with lupus for example (and many doctors cite this as the cause for the onset of their autoimmune disorders). It may also be linked to the diagnosis of other autoimmune diseases as well...
More research is still being done, but I highly recommend this book.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking:
Prednisone 10 mg, pentasa 2 pills 4x a day, bentyl as needed, omeprazole in the morning, prenatal multivitamin, humira every other week, and Align probiotics given to me by my GI.
Surgery for ectopic pregnancy most likely the result of severe Crohn's inflammation in July of 2008.
Diet almost completely without refined sugars, wheat, flour, gluten, high lactose dairy, and/or junk food in general.
Learning how to live again.
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 5/17/2009 12:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Much still needs to be learned about IBD in general, they know that there is likely a predisposition to it but are unsure how it's passed down, for those that are the only ones in their family now that have it,doesn't mean that other family members won't get it and who knows if their family from 5 generations ago had it.

Smoking (including secon-hand smoke) is apparently one KNOWN cause for a trigger for crohn's...the thing is in order for the disease to become active it must be triggered....

I thought )when I first got sick) that I was the only one in my family that had an IBD, then 5 yrs later my mom got sick with UC so there is no saying that there isn't a predisposed genetic factor to getting it.

isergodur, that could have very well been your trigger, I have a friend who had the same issues with her cervix and also got them removed, she hasn't gotten an IBD since that but she's likely not predisoposed to getting it either, not everyone is and until research learns more pretty much anyone is like a ticking time bomb for their IBD to become active.

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 674
   Posted 5/17/2009 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   

My GI kept trying to link my smoking with my Crohns, I never really paid much attention to it. I mean I know smoking is bad for your stomach, and just bad for you in general, but I never thought it triggered my Crohns; until he asked me..

Doc:"When did you FIRST get sick?"

Me: "When I turned 16"

Doc: "When did you first start smoking?"

Me: "When I turned 16."  
I do believe it played a huge role in my Crohns activity. 
Dianogsed with Crohns: At 16 years old. 22 years old now.
Surgeries:2 Bowel Resections, Gallbladder Removed.
Current Meds: Imuran 50mg, Vitamin B12 (injection), D, and C tablets. Fish Oil Tablets, Cats Claw, Slippery Elm, and Reishi.

New Member

Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 5/17/2009 1:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I think that we will eventually find out that there is more than one trigger for it. I think my mom has had it mildly forever but she never really investigated it. For myself, I think I also had it mildly for years, and then when I took female hormones to control a bleeding problem, that kicked it into high gear, along with stress. I also now suspect that depression is an autoimmune illness in some people because both of my autoimmune diseases are associated with depression. (I also have psoriasis and with that there's a chicken and egg situation with depression - which causes whicn?)
Finally diagnosised with crohns. Psoriasis, rosecea, sebborhea, contact dermatitis, food allergies.

One husband, two sons, one parakeet, four cats, eight hens.

Proud owner of urban flock of hens!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 947
   Posted 5/17/2009 7:02 PM (GMT -7)   
bar77 said...
 My surgeon said he believed also that there was some environmental factor, because he saw patients in spring and fall typically.


My doctor said the same thing!

Diagnosed with Crohns in 2001
First and hopefully last Ileocecectomy 2/18/2009

Medications: Asacol, Folic Acid, Multivitamin, Dbl. Calcium, Probiotics, Protonix, Monthly B-12 injections.

Living a Great life with my Wife and my two Chocolate Labs
Hunter & Hailey.
I love them dearly.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 5/17/2009 7:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Yes, researchers believe environmental triggers are associated with IBD being the trigger(s) for the disease.
Check out this link from the CCFC....

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Post Edited (pb4) : 5/17/2009 8:20:34 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 1284
   Posted 5/17/2009 7:19 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed in the fall..... a few months after I had been working at Steak 'n Shake and eating food there for lunch everday... (It might have been a trigger... all that junk food at once...)

I once fell in a cesspool... (Maybe that contributed at some point, too?)

I have endured many traumas in my life.... (Connection there, maybe?)

//>.>\\'.... I used to eat leftovers that were a week old... (No more than a week, but maybe that had contributed, too)....

Oh... and I've been exposed to secondhand smoke (I don't that's a single factor, though)...
I think I am being picked on by life, sometimes. But's that okay. Life and I are good buddies... I know life doesn't mean no harm. It just is the way it is. I can accept that.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 3763
   Posted 5/17/2009 8:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I was diagnosed when my first born was one. My Mom was diagnosed when her first born was one. You better believe I will be watching like a hawk when my daughters have kids for ANY signs, since they both tend to have tummy issues. So in my family, I think its hormones that help to trigger it, although both my Mom and I had issues as teens (Hormones again!).

CD 20 years officially, 30 unofficially. 3 resections '93, '95 '97
Managing with strict low residue diet, keeping symptoms to a minimum. All test show small amount of ulceration, still have occasional blockages. But still have a great time with my 2 daughters and husband!

Prednisone, 6MP,Prevacid, B12 shots, Bentyl, Xifaxan.....

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1343
   Posted 5/17/2009 10:19 PM (GMT -7)   
My dad has Crohn's, and he was diagnosed after the military sent him to San Antonio for training. He thinks that something there must have triggered it.

I was a pretty healthy kid, was only on antibiotics one time, and often was one of the few kids in my class who didn't come down with the flu. I started having Crohn's symptoms about a year or so after moving across state to a new city. I also had been having major anxiety/panic attack problems for a couple years prior, which I bet sped up the process of me getting Crohn's.

My dad also has a cousin and an uncle with Crohn's, and intestinal problems run on both sides of my family. I know someone who has crohn's, and her son was just diagnosed. I think genetics play a part in the disease, as well as environment.
34 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Current Meds: Humira since 7/08, Pentasa, Effexor XR
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, B-Complex, Vitamins D, E, & K, Calcium, Magnesium, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1118
   Posted 5/18/2009 6:25 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi, I got bad tummy cramps, Sickness, and the big D 3 days after having a Rubella injection at school it may be a coincidence Bt my parents are adamant it played a role with me getting crohn's i so wish i bunked of school that day!!!!!! Bev x

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2004
Total Posts : 422
   Posted 5/18/2009 8:57 AM (GMT -7)   

I was a very healthy kid.  I had the occasional cold and I've had the flu twice in my life.  My parents used to tell me I had a really strong immune system because when kids were sick around me at school, I never seemed to catch what they had.

But my dad's sister has UC (she's now 81-years old)...and my dad's cousin has CD.  So possibly for me Crohn's is genetic and I was just born with it and it didn't become ACTIVE until my 30's.

I also think environmental factors MUST somehow play a role...possibly CAUSING the disease in some people and possibly triggering the disease into an active state for those who already have the disease from some other source.

When I first started to get ill, I was under A LOT of STRESS.  Two things were going on.  First, I was working 4 jobs: one full-time and 3 part-times.  At one of my PT jobs, I had a massive problem with a co-worker.  I'm not the confrontational-type...but with this girl I was a totally different person.  She knew how to push my buttons and we would argue and fight and curse each other at the top of our lungs.  I LOVED the job but hated being around her.  We'd started off as friends but an illness she'd had in high school surfaced again during the time I knew her - bulemia.  Her personality changed and she started drinking .  She became unbearable to be around.  She would come to work drunk and just start an argument with me for no reason.  I just didn't know how to control my temper when she'd start in. mad

While that was going on, I had an AWFUL infestation of MICE in my apartment.  This wasn't just a case of killing 1 or 2 mice.  There was a family breeding in the walls between my apartment and the apartment next door (who had a dog and a cat inside so the mice knew to go to MY place where there were no animals!).  I would find mouse droppings in every room along the walls; on the couch & chairs; even IN MY BED.  I couldn't sleep at night for fear of them crawling in bed with me!  I fought with the apartment management who didn't want to admit there was a mouse problem.  They sent a pest control person who did nothing but set out blocks of poison which never worked.  I used glue traps and spent MANY nights hauling "alive and squealing but stuck" mice to the garbage...until I got the bright idea to start putting them on the steps of the apartment management's door. tongue   It was awful and I was a nervous wreck.  I ended up staying with my parents for the longest time until I was able to MOVE OUT of the apartment and get a new, "mouse-free" place.

And during all this time, I was having worse and worse abdominal pains & loose BM's up to 15 times a day.  I was Dx with IBS and given meds that didn't work.  The pain and the LBM's got worse and I eventually quit the PT job I mentioned so I'd have time to find out what was wrong with me.  It took another year for a Crohn's diagnosis. rolleyes

I can't help but wonder, though, if those two stress factors played a role in ACTIVATING my Crohn's.  Maybe I'd been born with CD from a genetic perspective but the stress I was not used to dealing with activated the disease.   Had I NOT had that PT job...had I NOT had that mouse-infestation...would I be on this Crohn's Forum right now?

It sure would be great to one day know the REAL answer.




Diagnosed in October, 2004 at age 32 (misdiagnosed with IBS in 2002)
Current Rx's: Colazal (generic), Omeprazole, Ferrous Sulfate, Librax, One-A-Day multivitamin, Probiotic, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vitamin D, Cranberry pills
Secondary conditions: swelling ankles, extreme fatigue, mouth ulcers, joint pain
Previous/occasional Rx's: Prednisone, Flagyl, Levaquin, Xifaxan, Carafate
4/7/09: Gall bladder removal laproscopic surgery (gall stones)

Post Edited (Kittikatt) : 5/18/2009 10:01:15 AM (GMT-6)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 5/18/2009 8:57 AM (GMT -7)   
I believe it could have been enviromental triggers for me. I developed Crohns at the age of 18, no tummy problems prior to that. But I started smoking at 13, used alot of antibiotics as a child because of bad allergies, and I always drank alot of milk. So these all could have been triggers for me. I just think some of us are predisposed to get it.  By the way, no one in my family has it but me.  JMHO

Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*
*~* *~*

Post Edited (Nanners) : 5/18/2009 11:37:27 AM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 1343
   Posted 5/18/2009 9:18 AM (GMT -7)   
I find it interesting that several of us were healthy kids who had good resistance to colds and flus. I guess our heightened immune systems were once good for something!
34 years old, Crohn's disease for 15 of them
Current Meds: Humira since 7/08, Pentasa, Effexor XR
Supplements: 3 kinds of Fish Oil, Multi-Vitamin, B-Complex, Vitamins D, E, & K, Calcium, Magnesium, Enzymes
SCD since 12/01/08 - eating Stage 3 foods

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1169
   Posted 5/18/2009 10:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I think the latest research points to something more than 20 different genetic markers associated with Crohns. So there is clearly not a single "there it is" gene that says you will or will not get Crohns, as with, say, cystic fibrosis. Everything I have seen also indicates that depending on the genetic markers you may have accumulated, there also needs to be some envrionmental trigger to set off the runaway immune/inflammatory response. Since a wide range ot environmental triggers are associated with common things like nasal allergies, it also makes sense that the same principle would likely apply to Crohns. Hence, it seems pretty clear that, a) we are probably set up for it by a cocktail of genes that combine to trigger an overactive immune response in the gut, and, b) that response can be triggered by any one of a wide range of environmental factors, depending on which genes are involved. So it really makes little difference what sets it off, since most of the triggesr cited here and elsewhere are common things almost everyone encounters at some point. Besides, it's a lot like arriving at the ER shot in the abdomen and obsessing over the caliber and brand name of the pistol. I am content to know that I got the genes and being alive brought me in contact with something (or a series of somethings) that set them off.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 1058
   Posted 5/18/2009 1:41 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, in the interest of possibly helping family members to avoid the problem, the environmental factors would be nice to have some ideas about. One of the ideas that has arisen in recent years is the possibility that a vitamin D deficiency is responsible. The genetics is another disposing factor, but gene expression is also dependent on environmental factors including diet and exercise (worse luck!). The vitamin D idea is interesting - smoking depletes vitamin D and so do infections. It seems that vitamin D deficiency impairs the immune response - so that other things that impair the immune response (genetics, drugs, toxins) may also be responsible for Crohn's initiation. @duplessis3 - there is a study linking psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis with a previously undiagnosed IBD condition. In your case, they have already made the connection. Stress is a well known trigger, but I don't see it being a sole cause of IBD. Stress can directly damage your gut because of the presence of intestinal neurons that receive signals from your brain. They are found in close proximity to mast cells in the gut and it is suggested that the mast cells are triggered by the neurons under stress. Mast cells, when triggered, release a toxic cocktail of histamines and other inflammatory agents. They non-selectively destroy both foreign and self cells. The suggestion is that that reaction is a response to parasites and it is almost the only response that the body has that does anything to deal with parasites. Normally, the reaction is self-limiting. In Crohn's, there may be factors like autoimmunity or just impaired immunity that keep the reaction going.
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