Experienced Gastroenterologists in Fremont, CA
Crohn’s disease is a condition that affects the gastrointestinal
tract. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect the gastrointestinal
tract—which extends from the mouth to the anus—at any point,
though it is most typically found at the base of the small intestine.
Crohn’s disease also may impact the joints, the eyes, and the skin
of the affected individual. It often appears in patches and can extend
through the thickness of the bowel wall entirely.
While it is in the category of inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s
disease is different than ulcerative colitis, which is another inflammatory
bowel disease that only affects the colon or large intestine. Crohn’s
disease is also not to be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
This disorder is not a chronic disease and does not produce inflammation
of the intestine. Instead, IBS affects the bowel’s muscle contractions.
Who Is at Risk for Crohn’s Disease?
About 700,000 people in the United States have Crohn’s disease. It
affects both men and women equally, and typically occurs in teenagers
to younger adults between the ages of 15 and 35. Genetics seem to play
a role in this condition. One out of five people diagnosed with Crohn’s
disease have a relative with IBS. Other factors may include environmental
factors and an overactive immune system. Crohn’s disease is not
triggered or caused by certain types of foods.
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease may include:
- Frequent diarrhea
- Urgent bowel movements
- Stomach pain and cramping
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Night sweats
- Change in menstrual cycle
There are medications that can effectively treat patients with Crohn’s
disease and help manage symptoms related to this condition. In some cases,
surgery may be required. If you believe you may have Crohn’s disease,
talk with your doctor at Washington Township Medical Foundation.