Crohn's disease is one of the two types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakes the harmless bacteria in the intestines for foreign or invading substances. White blood cells are sent to the intestines and produce inflammation, a normal immune system response. However, the inflammation does not go away, which often leads to chronic inflammation, ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and painful symptoms, including:
- Persistent Diarrhea
- Rectal bleeding
- Urgent need to move bowels
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Sensation of incomplete evacuation
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Night sweats
- Loss of normal menstrual cycle
Crohn's disease usually is found in the last part of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine. But it can develop anywhere in the digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus.
How is Crohn's disease diagnosed?
A variety of tools may be used to diagnose Crohn's disease, including:
- your medical and family history
- a physical exam
- blood and stool tests
- a CT scan
- colonoscopy or video capsule endoscopy
Dr. Bhatti may also perform a series of medical tests to rule out other bowel diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease, that cause symptoms similar to those of Crohn's disease.
How is Crohn's disease treated?
While there is currently no cure for Crohn's disease, certain medications and procedures can reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Some of these procedure options include:
Small or Large Bowel Resection
When Crohn's disease causes a blockage or severe disease in the small intestine, Dr. Bhatti may need to remove a small portion of that section of intestine (a small bowel resection) or a large portion (a large bowel resection).
Proctocolectomy and ileostomy
A proctocolectomy is surgery to remove the entire colon and rectum. A removable external collection pouch is then attached to collect intestinal contents instead.
Schedule an appointment at Bhatti GI to find the best treatment option for you.
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