Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease characterized by inflammation of the intestinal wall or any portion of the gastrointestinal tract (GI). Although Crohn’s can affect any portion of the GI, the disease commonly affects the lower portion of the small intestine and the rectum. Some of the symptoms with Crohn’s are abdominal pain and diarrhea, as well as general weight loss. At Concorde Gastroenterology, we have a variety of options for treating patients suffering from Crohn’s, with the goal of alleviating symptoms and helping them live normal lives.
What is Crohn’s disease?
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
People with Crohn’s disease don’t usually have consistent, ongoing symptoms. The patient may have a period of severe symptoms followed by a remission that can last from weeks to even years. How a person reacts to Crohn’s depends on where in the GI the disease occurs, along with its severity. These are the general symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease:
- Chronic diarrhea that often contains blood or mucus
- Abdominal pain and tenderness
- Abdominal cramping
- Weight loss
- Feeling of low appetite
- Rectal bleeding
Complications from Crohn’s can lead to other symptoms. An abnormal passageway, called a fistula, can develop between organs or tissues, leading to leaking discharge around the rectum. Severe inflammation can create swelling and scar formation and lead to problems such as bowel perforation, fever, and abdominal distension. In these cases, Crohn’s can be life threatening.
What causes Crohn’s disease?
Who gets Crohn’s disease?
Is Crohn’s the same as ulcerative colitis?
- Inflammation develops anywhere in the GI tract
- Most common at the end of the small intestine
- May appear in patches
- May extend through entire thickness of bowel wall
- Limited to the large intestine
- Occurs in the rectum and colon
- Appears in a continuous pattern
- Inflammation occurs in innermost lining of the intestine
How is Crohn’s different from irritable bowel syndrome?
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
How is Crohn’s disease treated?
Although there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, at Concorde Gastroenterology, we have a variety of treatment options that can allow patients to lead normal lives. The goals for treatment are to reduce inflammation, relieve symptoms such as diarrhea, and to eliminate any nutritional deficiencies caused by the disease. It’s important to note that medications or surgery don’t cure Crohn’s disease. We primarily treat Crohn’s disease with medications.
- Immune system modifiers
- Anti-diarrhea drugs
- Biologic therapies
Surgery for Crohn’s Disease
Up to three-quarters of people with Crohn’s disease will eventually need surgery to treat the disease. Surgery usually will remove the diseased part of the bowel. However, Crohn’s can impact another portion in the future.
Surgical patients are not responding to medications, are having extreme difficulty with medication side effects, or have developed these complications:
- Formation of a scar that is narrowing the bowel
- Excessive bleeding in the intestine
- A perforation in the bowel wall
- Formation of a fistula
- Formation of an abscess
- A condition known as toxic megacolon, where the colon is severely stretched out and toxins begin to spread through the blood
Can you die from Crohn’s disease if left untreated?
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