Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s Disease?

It is estimated that as many as 90% of colorectal deaths could be prevented if everyone ages 50 years or older were screened routinely.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that can involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract. It most commonly affects the last portion of the small intestine (ileum) and the large intestine (colon and rectum). When affected, this portion of the bowel becomes inflamed. The cause for this disease is unknown. It commonly affects adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 35, but can begin at any age. First degree relatives of patients with Crohn’s disease have a higher incidence of developing Crohn’s disease when compared with the general population, but most patients do not have a family history.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Urgent bowel movements
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding, rectal abscesses or fistulas

Other symptoms of Crohn’s Disease, as well as most IBD conditions include:
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Night sweats

Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Medication – This is the primary form of immediate treatment for Crohn’s Disease. Although medication won’t cure Crohn’s Disease, it’s primary goal is to suppress it. As symptoms are suppressed, it allows time for your GI tract tissue to heal properly from any damage done to the lining which ultimately will increase the time between flare-ups.

Nutrition – An easy way to control flare-ups and triggers is to change your diet and nutritional intake. You will be given advice on what foods to avoid, and which to eat.

Surgery– Surgery for Crohn’s disease is often indicated in the treatment of complications associated with the disease such as bowel obstruction, stricture, perforation or abscess formation. Persistent anorectal involvement with abscess and fistula formation often requires surgical intervention as well. While surgery is not considered “curative”, surgical intervention will eventually be required in up to three-fourths of patients with Crohn’s disease, and may provide effective long term relief of symptoms, preventing unnecessary suffering and reducing long term use of drugs.

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