What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn's disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. It’s a lifelong disease that cannot be cured. However, in most cases, symptoms can be reduced or managed. In Crohn’s disease, the lining of your digestive tract becomes inflamed. This can happen anywhere in your digestive tract, from your mouth to your anus. Most often, it affects your intestines, specifically the last part of your small intestine and the first part of your large intestine. Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, abdominal pain, mouth sores, and blood in your stool. Crohn’s disease can lead to additional complications like arthritis, kidney stones and rashes. Your doctor may use a variety of tests to diagnose you. Treatment includes medications, changes in diet, and in some cases surgery.
What are the symptoms and signs of Crohn’s disease?
The most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
- Blood in your stool
- Abdominal pain
- Mouth sores
- Weight loss
If you experience these last symptoms for several days, you should seek immediate help. It is possible for these symptoms to be persistent and ongoing, but most often symptoms appear out of nowhere and then subside for a period of time. They may be mild, moderate, or severe. Certain things may provoke symptoms, like smoking. Crohn’s disease can develop at any time, but most often starts in young adulthood.
What causes Crohn’s disease?
No one knows for sure what causes Crohn’s disease. Likely it is an immune system response. Genetics may play a role. If your family has a history of the condition, your chances of developing it increase. However, a family history is not a prerequisite to developing the disease and often is not present in those who do develop the disease. Environmental factors may also be at cause for the disease. Cigarette smoking is linked to a higher risk of developing the disease.
How can BASS Medical Group’s Gastroenterologists (GI) help?
There are a variety of tests BASS Medical Group’s GI team may perform to determine if you have Crohn’s disease.
- Capsule endoscopy
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy
- CT scan
Call and schedule an appointment with one of our skilled GI physicians to help diagnosis and treat your Crohn’s disease.