Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is an autoimmune disease and is in the same family as MS (multiple sclerosis), RA (rheumatoid arthritis), and Plaque psoriasis.  In an autoimmune disease the patient’s body attacks itself.  With RA the patients body attacks it’s own joints, but the Crohns Disease, the body attacks any part of the digestive tract.  Although the cause of Crohns disease is unknown, scientists believe that their is both genetic and environmental factors.   Your digestive track starts at your mouth and ends at your butt, and symptoms can present at any point in between.   With Crohns Disease, a patient commonly experience:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight Loss
  • Fevers
  • Pain
  • Ulcers
  • Fissures
  • Fistulas

Although less common, Crohn’s can cause mouth ulcers, esophageal ulcers, anal abscesses, skin tags and many others.

Many Crohn’s Patients experience debilitating symptoms that can interfere with their life.  Patients who experience diarrhea may find that their bottom becomes raw and irritated, which in and of itself can cause a lot of discomfort.  Medication used to treat Crohn’s often causes it’s own side-effects, it is often hard to know if symptoms are caused by the illness or the medication.  

Symptoms most commonly develop in the end of the small intestines and the colon, but symptoms can also present in the stomach, esophagus and anal area.   In many cases, doctors treat Crohn’s Disease using immunosuppressant medications and/or steroids.

Crohn’s can be classified as mild/moderate, moderate/severe, or severe.  Patients who have mild cases, often can control their symptoms using medication and diet.  However, patients with moderate/severe Crohn’s may need to go on biologic medication that alters their immune system such as Humira and Remicade.  These medication may or may not put these cases into remission.  Although there is no known cure for Crohn’s, with the proper medication, many patients can experience periods of remission.

For more information contact your GI (gastroenterology specialist) or one of these resources:

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