Crohn’s Disease Treatment in Northwest Indiana
Crohn’s Disease is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike Ulcerative Colitis, it’s not isolated to one area and can affect any part of the GI tract from the mouth down to the colon. Usually, it affects the end of the small bowel, the ileum, and the beginning of the colon.
Crohn’s Disease predominantly affects adolescents and young adults, ages 15 to 35. An estimated 700,000 people in the U.S. Are affected by Crohn’s Disease, which equals about 50% of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) cases.
What are the Causes of Crohn’s Disease?
The exact cause of Crohn’s Disease isn’t well known, but many doctors believe it is related to family history and environmental factors. Things such as your diet and stress can aggravate or trigger Crohn’s Disease, but won’t be the initial cause.
According to Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, “Crohn’s tends to run in families, so if you or a close relative have the disease, your family members have a significantly increased chance of developing Crohn’s. Studies have shown that 5% to 20% of affected individuals have a first – degree relative (parents, child, or sibling) with one of the diseases.”
Bacteria that aids in digestion, which is harmless to your body, resides in your GI tract. Typically, your immune system doesn’t bother these bacteria, but for people with IBD and Crohn’s Disease, the immune system creates inflammation in the areas those bacteria reside as a natural response.
What are the Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease?
Symptoms specific to GI tract inflammation include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Urgent bowel movements
- Persistent diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
Other symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and most IBD conditions:
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
Sometimes, patients with Crohn’s Disease may not experience many symptoms, but they can be triggered by specific foods. While digestive issues can be a symptom of numerous GI problems, talk to your doctor if specific foods give you these symptoms, as it may be a sign of Crohn’s Disease.
Treatment for Crohn’s Disease with Internal Medicine Associates
Medication is the primary form of immediate treatment for Crohn’s Disease. While medication won’t cure Crohn’s Disease, it will suppress it in most cases. As symptoms are suppressed, it allows time for your GI tract tissue to heal properly from any damage done to the lining which ultimately will increase the time between flare-ups.
An easy way to control flare-ups and triggers is to change your diet and nutritional intake. Consult your doctor or dietitian to find out more about which foods may help suppress the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease.
Surgery is only necessary if medicine and diet changes are unable to control flare-ups. However, nearly 70% of people with Crohn’s Disease end up needing surgery some point in their life. This is because Crohn’s Disease can lead to the creation of a fissure, fistula, or some intestinal obstruction. A portion of the affected area may also need to be removed, which is called a resection.
For more information on Crohn’s Disease, call Internal Medicine Associates at (219) 738-2081.