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Learn about Crohn's Disease

What’s that? How to treat it? Crohn’s Disease

Colitis and Crohn’s Disease are both forms of inflammatory bowel disease. 

We are going to give you a simple break down of Crohn’s Disease in this post.

We are going to discuss:

  • What is it.
  • Signs and symptoms of Crohn’s.
  • Labs done.
  • How to treat it.
  • Course of the disease.
  • How to prevent it

As always this is just a simple break down of a complicated diseases. 

This breakdown is to help educate you, so your provider can offer the best care to you.

As always discuss any diagnosis, medications, treatments, with your provider first.

Let’s Begin

What is Crohn’s Disease?

Crohn’s Disease is a disease that causes inflammation of your digestive system. Crohn’s Disease has a peak onset of 15-30, but occurrence can occur after the age of 30. 

Crohn’s Disease seems to affect white women more often than other races, but it can occur in any race.

 What exactly causes Crohn’s Disease is unknown, but there seems to be an increase risk in people who; smoke tobacco, use NSAIDs, and have high antibiotic use.

Signs & Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease:

Slow onset of symptoms:

  • Diarrhea (non-bloody)
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain (lower abdomen)
  • Abdominal pain (which may decrease 30-45 min after eating)
  • No rectal urgency (you do not feel the rush to have a bowel movement)
  • Right lower abdominal mass

Some of the other symptoms can be based on the location of inflammation.

Labs needed to diagnosis Crohn’s Disease

Your provider will do some basic blood work to rule out other issues before they diagnosis Crohn’s.

One of the test he/she may order is called a fecal calprotectin test. If this test is positive they probably will order a colonoscopy.

Colonoscopy: is a a flexible tube with a camera on the end that is placed up your rectum to look for masses and to take cells to confirm the diagnosis.

CT scan (special x-ray) of the abdomen may be ordered. It allows your provider to see the entire bowel.

Treatment for Crohn’s Disease

Stop smoking
Update on all your immunizations
Avoid NSAIDs (known to cause and make the problem worse)

First Step:
Oral Steroids ( for a 2-3 months): Helps decrease the inflammation of the digestive system.

Step 2:
Your provider may place you on an immune suppressant. They usually give this oral medication while on the steroid. Even though Crohn’s Disease cause is unknown, they suspect that an overactive immune system may be the cause. Your provider will give you this medication.

Step 3:

Anti-tumor necrosis factor.

Some providers start off with this step. While some try the other steps first. Monitoring by your provider is very important when taking this medication.

Management of Crohn’s worsens:

If the above treatments do not help the problem a resection may be necessary.

A resection is the surgical removal of part of the intestines. This can occur if Crohn’s worsens, cancer forms, abscess forms, persistent bleeding, or perforation (hole) occurs.

Course of Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease cannot be cured. Symptoms can and often do occur even after surgery.

Crohn’s Disease can lead to cancer, but its risk is not as high as ulcerative colitis. The risk does increase with more involvement of the colon.

Crohn’s Disease can lead to rectal diseases, which may need to be treated with antibiotics throughout the person’s lifetime.

There is no way to prevent Crohn’s Disease. A person with Crohn’s Disease should try a healthy lifestyle change to ease their symptoms and to prevent a Crohn’s flare up.