Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is an autoimmune disorder resulting in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Crohn’s disease may vary from case to case and can affect any part of the GI tract. Most common site is the terminal ileum which is also where symptoms first arise. Crohn’s disease can be painful and may lead to life-threatening complications if not controlled.
We provide various methods and tools
to manage Crohn's Disease
Is Crohn’s disease the same as ulcerative colitis?
Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are both autoimmune disorders, however, although both may have similar symptoms, the areas affected in the GI tract are different. Crohn’s disease affects the entire GI tract and all layers of the bowel wall, whereas ulcerative colitis is confined to the large colon affecting only the lining of the colon.
What are signs and symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Symptoms may vary patient to patient.
Some specific symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract include:
- Persistent Diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Blood in stool
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Abdominal pain/craming
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation
Symptoms that are not specific to Crohn’s disease include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Night sweats
In severe cases, Crohn’s disease may lead to tears in anal tissue (fissures), it can also lead to a fistula to develop, which requires immediate medical attention.
How is Crohn’s Disease diagnosed?
Since signs and symptoms are not specific to Crohn’s disease, proper testing must be done to confirm diagnosis. These tests may include laboratory tests of blood and stool matter. As well as endoscopy, biopsy, chromoendoscopy or small intestine imaging
What causes Crohn’s Disease?
The causes of Crohn’s disease are not well understood. It is believed that diet and stress may aggravate the disease but are not capable of causing the disease. Some other risk factors include family history of the disease (genetics), smoking, age, and being of European descent.
How is Crohn’s disease treated?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Crohn’s disease, however, current treatment options can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. Treatment of Crohn’s disease includes use of medication, diet and nutrition modification, and surgical procedures to remove or repair affected GI portions.
Immunosuppression agents are used to suppress the immune system’s abnormal inflammatory response reducing risk of fever, diarrhea, and pain, thus allowing the intestinal tissue to heal. These medications also reduce the frequency of flare ups (i.e. Adalimumab (Humira), Azathioprine 6-MP (Azasan, Imuran))
In addition to medication, it is important to modify diet to reduce symptoms and flare-ups.
Avoid spicy, high fiber foods and carbonated drinks. Eat softer bland foods, and have smaller meals.
Surgery is last line of treatment when medication can no longer control symptoms. About 70% of people with Crohn’s disease eventually need surgery.
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