Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the bowel, usually diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 – 30.
Crohn’s disease, an idiopathic (of unknown cause), chronic inflammatory disorder of the bowel, involves any region of the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. The swelling and inflammation can go deeply into the lining of the bowel. This can be very painful and can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and decreased appetite. The inflammatory process tends to be eccentric and segmental, often with skip areas (normal regions of bowel between inflamed areas).
blockage of the intestine; sores and ulcers in the affected area or surrounding tissues such as the bladder; tunnels around the anus and rectum called fistulas; nutritional deficiencies; anemia; arthritis; skin problems; kidney stones, gallstones or other diseases of the liver and biliary system.
Both men and women can have Crohn’s disease.
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
Rectal bleeding may be serious and continuous enough to cause anemia (low red blood count).
Children who have Crohn’s disease may have delayed development and stunted growth.
The range and severity of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease varies among individuals.
Crohn’s disease is diagnosed by a thorough physical exam and a series of tests.
Blood tests may be done to:
Other tests that may be done include:
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s disease. The treatment for Crohn’s disease usually involves medical care over a long period of time, with regular visits to the doctor to monitor the condition.
Treatment includes: drugs, nutrition supplements and surgery, or a combination of these treatments. The goal of treatment is to control the swelling (inflammation), correct any nutritional deficiencies, and relieve symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and rectal bleeding.
Drug therapy for Crohn’s disease includes:
Nutrition supplements may be recommended especially for children whose growth has been slowed. For some patients, this nutrition is given intravenously through a small tube in the arm.
While a patient may require colectomy for uncontrolled bleeding, this is increasingly rare in Crohn’s, especially with new immune therapies.