Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive tract. It can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. The inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract for each person. It often spreads deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue. Crohn’s disease can be painful and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.
While there’s no known cure for Crohn’s disease, therapies and surgery may reduce its signs and symptoms. Sometimes with the treatment, people with Crohn’s disease are able to function well. Men and women are likely to be affected equally. It can happen to any age group but is most prevalent between the age of 15 and 35.
Crohn’s disease tends to run in the family. According to the studies, 5% to 20% of people with Crohn’s disease have their first-degree relative who has this problem.
People who have Crohn’s disease, only the last segment of the small intestine is affected. Otherwise, the disease is confined to the colon which is part of the large intestine. These are the two most common areas affected by Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease symptoms may vary from mild to severe. The signs and symptoms may include:
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Blood in your stool
- Mouth sores
- Reduced appetite and weight loss
- Pain or drainage around the anus due to inflammation into the skin (fistula)
Also Read: Comparison between Piles and Anal Fistula
Complications of Crohn’s’ disease
- Abscess: It happens because of the bacterial infection. It can form on the walls of the intestine and bulge out.
- Fissure: Fissures are the tears in the lining of the anus which can cause pain and bleeding during bowel movements.
- Fistula: Fistulas are most common in the anal area. It is caused by inflammation and is an abnormal channel formed between parts of the intestine or between the intestine and the bladder, vagina or skin.
- Bowel obstruction: In Crohn’s disease, the thickness of the intestinal wall is affected. Over time, the narrow and scarred bowel parts may block the flow of digestive contents. There may be a need of a surgery to remove the diseased portion of your bowel.
- Other health problem: Crohn’s disease can cause problems in other parts of the body. Among these problems are anemia, skin disorders, osteoporosis, arthritis, and gallbladder or liver disease.
- Colon Cancer: There are increased chances of getting the risk of colon cancer if Crohn’s disease has affected the colon. Colonoscopy is done for general colon cancer screening guidelines for people without Crohn’s disease every 10 years beginning at age 50. The doctor suggests this test to be done more frequently.
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
There is no particular test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. The initial evaluation and testing include a physical exam of your body. The doctor asks questions about your overall health, diet, nutrition, family history and your daily routine.
- The tests may include laboratory tests of blood, urine and stool.
- Imaging test that includes X-ray and gastrointestinal tract.
- Some diagnostic testing so that the doctor can rule out other medical conditions.
What are the treatment options for Crohn’s disease?
A combination of treatment options may help in controlling the condition. Each patient’s condition is different and the treatment is conducted according to the situation. The treatment of Crohn’s disease can include medication, lifestyle changes such as diet and sometimes surgical procedures to remove or repair the defected area.
The goal of the medicines is to reduce the inflammation that triggers the symptoms. They help in alleviating or limiting the complication. Therefore, anti-inflammatory drugs are sometimes the first thing that a doctor suggests for inflammatory bowel disease.
For some medications do not work and about 75% of people need surgical treatment. There is a procedure where a hole is created surgically to remove its content and is done when part of the small or large bowel is removed. For small bowel, it is known as ileostomy and for large bowel, it is known as colostomy. There are various other treatments for Crohn’s disease:
- To remove the part of the damaged intestine, a bowel resection is performed.
- Removing the diseased section of the colon in Crohn’s disease is called colectomy.
- Proctocolectomy is the procedure where both colon and rectum are removed and through ostomy, the waste products are collected.
These procedures may involve joining the two ends of the healthy bowel which is known as anastomosis.
The doctors at Pristyn Care perform minimally invasive surgery to treat Crohn’s disease which involves small incisions and faster recovery. All this depends on the severity and location of the problem. The laparoscopic surgery has fewer complications post-surgery, simply follow the instructions related to medication, diet and exercise. If you are still confused about the medication or surgery, book an appointment at Pristyn Care to consult a specialist.