What is Crohn’s Disease?
“Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.” (crohnscolitisfoundation.org) There are different types of Crohn’s Disease. It is important to know which type you are diagnosed with.
Ileocolitis is the most common form. It affects ileum and the colon.
Ileitis only affects the ileum.
Gastroduodenal affects the stomach and part of the small intestine called the duodenum.
Jejunoileitis affects the upper half of the small intestine called he jejunum.
Granulomatous only affects the colon.
Who is Affected by Crohn’s?
There is an estimated 3 million Americans affected. There is no specific age at which the disease can occur. Men and women are both equally affected. There is a genetic component related to the disease but it is impossible to determine who will be affected by this disease based on genetics.
What are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?
Based on the type of Crohn’s Disease diagnosed the symptoms could be the following.
- Weight Loss
- Loss of Appetite
- Fistulas in severe cases
- Rectal Bleeding
- Skin Lesions
How is Crohn’s Disease Diagnosed?
Since there is not a test that can be preformed to determine if you have Crohn’s Disease, your healthcare provider can evaluate your symptoms. This process can be lengthy. Blood tests, stool samples, and x-rays are a few tests to make the proper diagnoses.
What are treatments for Crohn’s Disease?
Medications used to treat Crohn’s are designed to suppress your immune system. This can offer relief from your symptoms allowing your intestinal issues to have time to heal. Medications that are offered by infusion therapy are Simponi, Remicade, Inlfectra, Tysabri, Stelara, and Entyvio. Ask your healthcare provider about these medications. Diet and nutrition are also a very important part of treatment. Avoiding spicy foods and dairy could be part of a recommended diet by your healthcare provider. Around 75% of people affected will require surgery sometime during their lifetime. Surgery will not cure the disease but it can maintain parts of your GI tract allowing you to live with this disease.