Crohn’s disease is a condition that usually starts causing symptoms before the age of 30, and it can have a devastating effect on your life. If you’re struggling to cope with Crohn’s or suspect you have the condition, the highly-skilled team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group in Oak Lawn, Oakbrook Terrace and Palos Heights, Illinois, can help. Crohn’s disease is incurable, but with careful management, your quality of life can improve significantly. Call the office nearest you today to schedule a consultation, or book an appointment using the online tool.
Crohn’s disease is a condition that affects your gastrointestinal tract, particularly the large and small bowel. It can also have a widespread impact on other aspects of your health. Along with ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease is one of the two principal inflammatory bowel diseases.
It’s not clear what causes Crohn’s disease. It most often starts in adolescence or early adulthood, but older people can also develop the condition. Smoking increases your risk of getting Crohn’s disease, and it’s more common in patients who have other family members with the disease.
The main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:
You might also get small weeping cracks called anal fistulas, as well as narrowing of the bowel (strictures) and abscesses. Severe cases of Crohn’s disease can lead to inflammation of your skin, eyes, joints, liver, or bile ducts.
As the initial symptoms are also typical of other conditions affecting your digestive tract, it’s vital to get an accurate diagnosis from the experts at Illinois Gastroenterology Group.
There are several approaches to diagnosing Crohn’s disease. Newer types of blood test can identify the antibodies seen in patients who have Crohn’s disease, while other diagnostic tools include:
Crohn's disease isn’t curable, but when you have a diagnosis, the team at Illinois Gastroenterology Group can create a personalized treatment plan to help reduce your symptoms.
The main treatments for Crohn's disease are medication. These could include:
If you need to take pain-relieving medication, it’s best to avoid drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, as they can make Crohn’s disease worse.
You might also benefit from nutrition therapy, a special diet that you take enterally (using a feeding tube), or nutrients are taken parenterally (by injection into a vein). As well as increasing your nutrient levels, nutrition therapy can give your bowel time to rest and help reduce inflammation.
If all other treatment options are failing to reduce the severity of your symptoms, there is a surgical option for Crohn’s disease. Surgery doesn’t cure Crohn’s disease but can provide long-term relief.
Your surgeon takes out a section of your digestive tract that’s been damaged from Crohn’s disease and stitches the two healthy ends together. They can also repair any fistulas and drain off abscesses caused by the disease.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms of Crohn’s disease, call the experts at Illinois Gastroenterology Group today, or book an appointment online.