WHAT IS CROHN'S DISEASE?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammation of your digestive tract that’s grouped with inflammatory bowel diseases. It can affect any part of the digestive system from your mouth to your anus. Crohn’s disease commonly begins in people ages 13 to 30. If it’s left untreated, the disease can lead to serious complications.
While the cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t entirely clear, issues with your immune system and heredity appear to play roles in its development.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF CROHN’S DISEASE?
The following signs and symptoms can indicate you have Crohn’s disease:
- Unintentional weight loss
- Rectal bleeding or blood in the stool
- Abdominal cramping or pain
- Reduced appetite
- Mouth sores
- Drainage or pus near the anus
- Liver, bile duct, skin, eye, or joint inflammation
- Delayed growth in children
Complications associated with Crohn’s disease may include bowel obstruction, malnutrition, fistulas, ulcers, and skin or joint problems.
HOW IS CROHN’S DISEASE DIAGNOSED?
To diagnose Crohn’s disease, your gastroenterologist reviews your symptoms and medical history. They complete a comprehensive physical exam and may recommend blood tests, stool tests, endoscopy, or imaging procedures to determine the severity of your condition and establish the most appropriate treatment.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CROHN’S DISEASE?
While there’s no cure for Crohn’s disease, treatments help manage your symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. Your doctor might recommend:
Receiving nutrition through a feeding tube can let your bowel rest, reduce inflammation, and decrease the risk of malnutrition associated with Crohn’s disease. Your gastroenterologist might recommend making dietary changes like following a low-fiber diet, eliminating dairy foods, eating smaller meals and taking dietary supplements.
Taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids, immune suppressors, or antidiarrheals, can help alleviate symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease.
If other treatments haven’t worked, your provider might suggest surgery to remove or repair a damaged part of your digestive tract. About half of people with Crohn’s disease may benefit from surgery.
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