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Crohn’s Disease

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease usually causes inflammation of the small intestine but can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. The inflammation can cause pain and frequent diarrhea.  It is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20-30.

Some people will have long periods of remission when they don’t have any symptoms. Usually the disease comes back at different times in the person’s lifetime.

Symptoms

•            Abdominal pain (mostly in the right lower abdomen)

•            Diarrhea

•            Rectal bleeding

•            Weight loss

Causes

Both men and women can get Crohn’s disease and it seems to run in some families. When you have Crohn’s disease, your body’s immune system begins to attack healthy cells in your GI tract.  This causes the inflammation that makes you have pain and diarrhea.

Diagnoses

             •             Blood tests

             •             Stool samples

             •             Upper GI and Small Bowel Series (X rays)

             •             Colonoscopy/ Upper Endoscopy/ Capsule study of the small bowel

Treatment

•            There is no cure.  It is a lifelong disease. The goal of treatment is to control the inflammation, help you get the nutrients you need to fuel your body, and relieve symptoms like pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.

•            The doctor will prescribe different drugs to treat the Crohn’s disease.

•            Surgery may be needed if medicines can’t control the symptoms.

Complications of Crohn’s Disease

             •             Blockage of the intestine

             •             Ulcers

             •             Fistulas (tunnels to surrounding tissue) that may become infected.

             •             Lack of proteins, calories, and vitamins needed in the body

             •             Arthritis

             •             Skin problems

             •             Inflammation of the eyes or mouth

             •             Kidney stones and gallstones