What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel condition that causes digestive system problems, most commonly in the small intestine and colon. Crohn’s disease isn’t curable, but a carefully designed treatment plan can significantly improve quality of life.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include chronic diarrhea, which may contain blood, mucus, or pus, with abdominal pain and a full feeling. You may also lose weight, bleed from the rectum, or become feverish. Symptoms are typically severe but sporadic, with long periods of being symptom-free.
How does Crohn’s disease affect my health?
Crohn’s disease causes a variety of complications, including:
- Intestinal and anal abscesses
- Bile salt diarrhea
- Anal fissures (tears in the anus)
- Fistulae (holes in the intestinal walls)
- Malabsorption and malnutrition
- Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- Strictures (narrow, thickened areas of the intestine)
- Peripheral or axial arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Erythema nodosum (tender, red skin nodules)
- Pyoderma gangrenosum (pus-filled sores)
- Mouth ulcers (canker sores)
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Episcleritis and uveitis (eye inflammation)
- Scleritis (eye pain)
- Kidney stones
- Hydronephrosis (a kidney disease)
- Fatty liver disease
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t clear, but it’s likely to be a dysfunction of the immune system. You’re more at risk of getting Crohn’s disease if other members of your family have it.
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
The team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado diagnose Crohn’s disease by reviewing your symptoms and carrying out blood and stool sample tests. They may order an MRI or CT scan to get a detailed image of your internal organs.
The team also uses advanced endoscopic techniques such as enteroscopy, colonoscopy, or video capsule endoscopy (VCE) to view the inside of your intestines, and an esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to view your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum.
What treatments are available for Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease treatment initially consists of medication. Anti-inflammatory drugs including corticosteroids help with pain and inflammation, and antibiotics can treat any bacterial problems in the intestines. You can also take anti-diarrhea medication, and a range of biologic medicines called TNF (tumor necrosis factor) inhibitors.
Your team at Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado can prepare a personalized treatment plan, monitoring how well each drug works for you. If you’re not finding relief from symptoms of Crohn’s disease with medication, surgery might be the best option.
If you have any gastroenterological symptoms of Crohn’s disease, get an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment by calling Gastroenterology Associates of Western Colorado today.