Crohn's disease is a severe, chronic inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation, ulcers, and bleeding in the digestive tract.
It often affects the end portion of the small intestine, called the ileum. However, Crohn's disease can affect any part of the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus.
The cause of Crohn's disease is not known, but, like other inflammatory bowel diseases, it seems to run in some families.
Some research links Crohn’s disease to an overactive and inappropriate immune response to the bacteria that normally reside in the intestine, causing damage to the intestines.
Common symptoms of Crohn's disease include:
To diagnose Crohn's disease, your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam.
Tests may include:
The following treatment options can help control or prevent the severity of Crohn’s disease symptoms.
Many types of medicines are available to treat Crohn's disease, such as:
Your doctor may recommend that you avoid foods that provoke symptoms.
These foods are different for each person, but may include:
Very severe Crohn's disease may not improve with medicines and can cause complications, such as:
In these cases, surgery may be an option. Your surgeon will remove the diseased section of your intestine and join the two remaining healthier ends together.
Groundbreaking research from the UPMC Inflammatory Bowel Disease Center has found that treating people with medicine following bowel resection can keep Crohn’s disease from reoccurring.