What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic, or long-lasting inflammatory disease that causes inflammation, irritation and swelling of your digestive tract.

Crohn’s disease can affect any area of the intestinal tract from mouth to anus. It is more commonly affects the lower part of the small intestines. The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are diarrhea, cramping, pain in the abdominal area and weight loss.

The cause of Crohn’s Disease is unknown. It may be due to abnormal immune reaction of your body, genetically inherited from your family or other environmental causes.

What causes Crohn’s Disease?

The exact cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown. Previously, diet and stress were suspected, but now doctors now that these factors may aggravate, but do not cause the disease. Several factors, such as heredity and a malfunctioning immune system, may likely play a role in its development.

Who is at risk?

  • Gender is not a risk factor for Crohn’s Disease, as men and women are equally likely to be affected
  • Risk that cannot be changed:
    • Adolescents and adults aged 15-35 (more prevalent at these ages, but the disease can occur at any age)
    • Genetic factors
    • Family history
  • Risk that can be changed:
    • Unhealthy diet/ Stress (aggravate the disease, but do not cause it)
    • Cigarette smoking
    • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ie. ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.)

Common Symptoms*

  • Crohn’s disease can affect everyone differently.
  • The symptoms one would experience depends on which part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is being affected by the disease.
    • persistent diarrhea
    • rectal bleeding
    • urgent need to move bowels
    • Abdominal cramps and pains,
    • Constipation

In addition to GI symptoms, some overall complications to one’s overall health include loss of appetite, weight loss, low energy and fatigue, and delayed growth and development in children.

How is Crohn’s Disease treated?

There’s no cure for Crohn’s disease. Oftentimes doctors treat Crohn’s disease with medicines, bowel rest and surgery to decrease the inflammation of your intestines and prevent flare-up of the symptoms. There’s no real standard of treatment, and treatment choices varies from patient to patient.

Some of the common medications used:

  • Aminosalicylates (5-ASA) – reduce inflammation, prevent relapse and works best in colon.
  • Corticosteroids – available orally and topically to reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system
  • Immunomodulators – suppress the immune system often used in people of whom Aminosalicylates and corticosteroids are not effective
  • Antibiotics – prevent or treat bacterial infection of the GI tract
  • Biologic therapies (biologics) – stop certain proteins in the body that cause inflammation

*Please consult with your health care provider before making any health care decisions or guidance about a specific medical condition.

Our highly trained staff are here to offer knowledge and breakthrough medications that improve the quality of life of those that live with Crohn’s Disease.

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