Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease that may affect the entire GI tract, but most commonly the small intestine/ileum. There is a genetic predisposition to developing Crohn’s Disease, though an abnormal immune response may be responsible for its development. There is an equal distribution in both men and women.
The diagnosis of Crohn’s disease is based upon symptoms and diagnostic testing which may included EGD, colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy and radiographic imaging. Symptoms of Crohn’s most commonly include abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, rectal bleeding, joint pains. The symptoms may vary based on the location of disease. The severity of disease is also variable. Crohn’s may lead to troublesome complications such as intestinal obstruction related to scarring. Fistulas, abnormal connections between 2 parts of the body, may develop, as well as anorectal disease. Nutritional deficiencies may occur as a results of malabsorption and inadequate dietary intake.
The treatment of Crohn’s disease includes a combination of medications, nutritional supplementation, symptomatic control, and sometimes surgery. Treatment will vary based on the location and severity of disease. This is a chronic condition which may have periods of remission though will always be present within the body.