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Crohn’s Disease Treatment

Crohns disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Although it can affect any part of GI tract but more commonly it affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon. Crohn’s disease can be both painful and debilitating, and sometimes may lead to life-threatening complications.

What are the Causes of Crohns Disease?

Crohns disease can occur at any age, but is more prevalent among adolescents and young adults between 15 and 35 years of age. Although there is no specific cause of Crohns disease but following factors are believed to aggravate the disease:

  • Some virus or bacterium may trigger Crohn’s disease
  • Age before they’re 30 years old
  • Ethnicity especially Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry
  • Family history
  • Stress
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
  • Infections
  • Living in Urban or industrialized country
  • Hormonal changes

Signs and Symptoms of Crohns disease

The symptoms vary from patient to patient and depend upon the affected part of GI tract. As it is a chronic disease, patient may have mild to severe, on and off symptoms
Symptoms related to inflammation of the GI tract:

  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Perianal discharge
  • Constipation

General symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Night sweats
  • Loss of normal menstrual cycle
  • Inflammation of skin, eyes and joints
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • Delayed growth or sexual development, in children
  • Joint pains
  • Diverticulitis
  • Ulcerative colitis

Crohn’s Disease – Exams and Tests

The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease involves a thorough medical history and physical examination of the patient along with following diagnostic tests:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine analysis
  • Colonoscopy
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy
  • Abdominal X-ray
  • Upper gastrointestinal (UGI) series
  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Double-balloon endoscopy
  • Barium enema
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Treatments and drugs

Currently there is no cure for Crohns disease, but it can be treated with drug therapy or, in certain cases, surgery is required. The medical treatment is given to reduce the inflammation and improve long-term prognosis by limiting complications. The treatment includes following:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Immune system suppressors
  • Antibiotics
  • Symptomatic treatment like
    • Anti-diarrheal
    • Pain relievers
    • Iron supplements
    • Vitamin B-12 shots
    • Calcium and vitamin D supplements
  • Surgery