Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease and autoimmune disorder that inflames the lining of your digestive tract, and can also affect your anus, liver, skin, eyes, and joints. It can be debilitating and sometimes lead to life-threatening complications. You are most likely to develop Crohn’s disease when you are between the ages of 13 and 30.
Crohn’s disease occurs when your body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue in your digestive tract. No one knows the exact causes of Crohn’s disease or how you can prevent it. However, some experts consider that it may run in your family, or that environmental factors such as antibiotics, animal fat, red meat, smoking, and other toxins may trigger it.
Signs and symptoms of Crohn's disease in adults include:
- Belly or abdominal pain, often in your lower right area
- Cut or tear in the anus (anal fissure)
- Diarrhea, sometimes bloody
- Joint pain
- Mouth sores (ulcers in your mouth can be similar to canker sores)
- Rectal bleeding
- Reduced appetite
If you have a severe case of Crohn's disease, you may also experience:
- Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
- Inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints
- Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
A blood test can determine if there is anemia resulting from blood loss, or if there is an increased number of white blood cells.
This test checks for the presence of abnormal bacteria in your digestive tract that may cause diarrhea and other problems.
EGD or Upper Endoscopy (Esophagogastroduodenoscopy)
This allows the physician to examine the inside of your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first section of the small intestine).
In this procedure, you swallow a vitamin-sized capsule, which contains a tiny wireless camera. As the capsule travels through your digestive tract, a technician uses a special computer to capture detailed images.
A colonoscopy allows your GI doctor to view the entire length of your large intestine, and can often help identify abnormal growths, inflamed tissue, ulcers, and bleeding.
Your GI doctor will remove a small tissue sample (biopsy) of the lining of your colon to be closely examined in the laboratory.
Upper Gastrointestinal (GI) or Barium Swallow
This examines the organs of the upper part of the digestive system. X-rays are then taken to evaluate the digestive organs.
Lower GI Series or Barium Enema
This examines the rectum, large intestines, and lower part of the small intestine. An X-ray of the abdomen shows strictures (narrowed areas), obstructions (blockages), and other problems.
Your gastrointestinal (GI) doctor may recommend a variety of over-the-counter or prescription-strength oral (by mouth) medications, including anti-inflammation medications, cortisone or steroids, immune system suppressors, biologic therapies, antibiotics, anti-diarrheal medications, and fluid replacements.
Diet and Nutritional Supplements
Your GI doctor may recommend you supplement your diet to help replace nutrients and vitamins that are lost due to Crohn’s disease.
Intravenous (IV) Feeding
Your GI doctor may recommend you receive nutrition via an IV if you are unable to eat normally during a flare-up of Crohn’s disease.
Drainage of Abscesses or Removal of a Section of Bowel
Your GI surgeon may need to drain an abscess or remove a section of your bowel due to a blockage, which results in a shortened bowel.
Your GI surgeon will remove part of your intestine and create a new method of removing stool from your body.
Why Choose UHealth?
Motility lab for accurate diagnosis of GI conditions. The only facility of its kind in South Florida, our motility lab enables our GI specialists to provide accurate diagnoses of GI conditions more quickly and efficiently. We offer a variety of leading-edge services, such as hydrogen breath testing, anal-rectal manometry, and bio-feedback.
A broad array of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Regardless of your age, condition, or whether you need long- or short-term digestive treatments, you will receive the most accurate diagnosis and most effective treatment to keep your stomach, digestive system, and organs healthy.
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