Crohn's disease (intestinal inflammation)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Crohn's disease (intestinal inflammation) (Disease)


Crohn’s disease is a form of inflammatory bowel disease and also chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Everyone responds in different ways to the disease. The severity of symptoms can vary from time to time and from person to person.

The inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is not considered a ‘progressive’ disease, flare ups can range from mild to severe and back to mild again. Some people will experience periods of relief from symptoms between flare-ups.

IBD interferes with normal body functions and some of the signs and symptoms can include: pain in the abdomen, weight loss, diarrhea (sometimes with blood and mucus), tiredness, constipation, malnutrition, and nausea, delayed or impaired growth in children, vomiting etc.

Causes and Risk factors

In Crohn’s disease, the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissues in response to food or infection in the digestive tract. The disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but it most commonly affects the lower portion of the small intestine (the ileum). Other areas affected include the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Aminosalicylates (5-ASAs) help control the inflammation, and can be given rectally or orally. Corticosteroids (prednisone and methylprednisolone) are used to treat moderate to severe Crohn’s disease. They may be taken by mouth or inserted into the rectum. Azathioprine or 6-mercaptopurine are immunomodulators and they help reduce the need for corticosteroids and can help heal some fistulas. Antibiotics may be prescribed for abscesses or fistulas. Infliximab and adalimumab are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that are prescribed for severe cases.

Surgery may be needed for disease that does not respond to medications and for fistulas. Crohn’s disease is not contagious. Although diet may affect the symptoms in patients with Crohn’s disease, it is unlikely that diet is responsible for the disease. ...