What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease in which there is inflammatory lesions that can occur anywhere in the GI tract, from mouth to anus. Most patients with Crohn’s have disease in the small bowel, usually at the end of the small bowel, the distal ileum.
The exact cause of Crohn’s is unknown. It is suspected that there is a genetic role, as Inflammatory Bowel Disease sometimes runs in families. It is also suspected that there is an autoimmune component and that some medications can play a role in developing Crohn’s. There is no known way to prevent Crohn’s.
Patients with Crohn’s can present with a wide variety of symptoms. Sometimes people have symptoms for years and have not sought treatment, assuming it is IBS. Common symptoms include chronic diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain. Weight loss, fever, and rectal bleeding are not infrequent. Sometimes patients with Crohn’s have perianal disease, including fistulas or abscesses. Fistulas are tracts or communications between two organs. This can occur from the bowel to the skin (perianal fistula), between small intestine and colon, and even to the bladder or vagina.
Crohn’s is typically diagnosed with endoscopy and colonoscopy, which Dr.Ahmed. Sometimes capsule endoscopy or radiologic testing is done. There are blood tests that help make the diagnosis as well.
There are many medications that are used to treat Crohn’s disease. These include anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, and immune system suppressing medications. Sometimes surgery is needed to treat complications of Crohn’s, such as abscesses, fistulas, or bowel obstructions.