What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes direct inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It can affect any portion of the GI tract but more commonly affects the small intestine (enteritis) and colon (colitis). This is a chronic condition that can affect any age group – young or old.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown – theories include abnormal immune system response, abnormal gut bacteria and environmental factors. Genetic factors are also considered as Crohn’s disease can run in families.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease are varied and include:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
Other diseases of the GI tract can also produce similar symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, we can provide comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and a treatment plan.
Tests & Diagnosis
A variety of tests exist for diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. These include labs, X-ray tests, colonoscopy and upper endoscopy. The best test for you depends on your symptoms and will be determined by your physician.
A variety or treatments exist for Crohn’s disease. Once you have been diagnosed, your physician will determine your best treatment option depending on your location of disease and severity of disease.
Common treatment options include:
5 ASA – Asacol, Lialda, Apriso, Sulfasalazine, Pentasa, Colazol – these medications work as anti-inflammatories.
Immunomodulator agents – 6MP, Imuran, Azathioprine – these medications work as immune suppressants.
Biologic treatment – Remicade, Humira, Cimzia – these injectable medications work as immune suppressants as it is postulated that Crohn’s disease may be caused by the immune system. They are particularly preferred for certain types of Crohn’s disease (fistulas and strictures).