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Gastroenterology & Hepatology

Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes swelling of the tissues (inflammation) in a person’s digestive tract. This can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, exhaustion, weight loss, and malnutrition.

People with Crohn’s disease may experience inflammation in many parts of their gastrointestinal tract, most frequently the intestines. This inflammation frequently penetrates the innermost layers of the bowel.

Crohn’s disease frequently manifests in the colon and small intestine. It can affect any part of the patient’s mouth, anus, or any other region of the gastrointestinal (GI) system. It may involve some sections of the GI tract while omitting others.

Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in the stool
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Weight loss
  • After having a bowel movement, one still feels like the bowels aren’t empty
  • A frequent need for bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Causes of Crohn’s Disease

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, the following elements could affect a person’s likelihood of getting it:

  • Immune system
  • Genetics
  • Environment

The following factors can also affect the severity of a person’s symptoms:

  • Smoking
  • Age
  • Whether or not the rectum is involved
  • How long one has had the condition

Crohn’s Disease Diagnosis

There is no single test result that can be enough for a doctor to diagnose Crohn’s disease. The doctor will begin by eliminating other possible causes of the patient’s symptoms.

The doctor may use various types of tests to make a diagnosis:

  • Blood tests to help the doctor look for certain indicators of potential problems, for instance, anemia and inflammation.
  • A stool test to help the doctor detect blood in the patient’s GI tract.
  • To obtain a better view of the upper gastrointestinal tract, the doctor may recommend an endoscopy.
  • A colonoscopy to examine the large bowel
  • A biopsy, which includes extracting a small tissue sample to be examined under a microscope in the lab
  • Imaging tests like CT scans and MRI scans provide the doctor with a clear view of tissues and organs.

Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Doctors haven’t yet found a cure for the condition, but it can be managed. There are various treatment options for Crohn’s disease. These include:

Medication

The combination of medication one needs will depend on the symptoms, disease history, severity of the condition, and how the patient responds to the treatment. Medicine for inflammation and diarrhea are frequently used. Biologics, which employ the body’s immune system to treat the illness, are among the more advanced options.

Surgery

If other less invasive treatments and lifestyle changes don’t improve the patient’s symptoms, surgery may be necessary. Some types of Crohn’s surgery involve removing damaged regions of the digestive tract and reattaching the good sections. 

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