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Crohn's Disease Fact Sheet

Crohn's disease treatment at UK HealthCare

Experts at the multidisciplinary Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic can diagnose and treat Crohn's disease symptoms. The clinic allows patients to see a gastroenterologist and a surgeon in one visit, if needed.

What is IBD?

Common names for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) include Crohn's disease, regional enteritis, ileitis, and granulomatous ileocolitis. Crohn's disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, but most commonly occurs in the ileum (the area where the small and large intestine meet).

This disease has both quiet (remission) and active (relapse) phases. The quiet phase is when you have few or no symptoms of the disease. This phase may last months or years. The active phase is when you have symptoms. Crohn's disease is more common in Caucasian people ages 15 to 30 years. There is no cure for Crohn's disease. The symptoms of Crohn's disease usually can be treated with medicines or surgery.

Causes

It is not known what causes Crohn's disease, but genetic factors seem to play a role. Germs called bacteria or viruses also may cause Crohn's disease. People with Crohn's disease often have problems with their immune system. Scientists do not know if the problems with the immune system cause the Crohn's disease, or the Crohn's disease causes the problems \with the immune system. Crohn's disease is not caused by stress or by being sensitive to some foods or medicine.

Signs and symptoms

You may have one or more of the following signs and symptoms associated with IBD:

  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Bleeding from the anus (rear end) that can get serious and may cause anemia (ah-nee-mee-ah), which is not having enough blood
  • Children with Crohn's disease may grow more slowly and may not get as big as they should.
  • Diarrhea (die-ah-ree-ah) - loose, runny bowel movement (BM) that may or may not have blood in it
  • Fever
  • Losing weight without trying.

Tests

The goal of treatment for Crohn's disease is to control inflammation, correct diet problems, and lessen symptoms. Caregivers will ask you questions about your health history and will do a physical examination. You may then need one or more of the following tests. Some of these tests help caregivers find out what is causing your Crohn's disease. Other tests are used to help caregivers plan your treatment. Ask your caregiver if you want more information about these tests: barium enema,barium swallow, blood tests, stool sample, colonoscopy and biopsy, and sigmoidoscopy (sig-moid-ah-sko-p).

Facts about IBD and Crohn's Disease

IBD may occur at any age, but adolescence and early adulthood are the periods of highest risk.
The only known risk factors include a family history of Crohn's disease, Jewish ancestry, and smoking.
About 45,000 Kentuckians suffer from Crohn's disease.

Treatment

The goal of treatment for Crohn's disease is to control inflammation, correct diet problems, and lessen symptoms. Treatments for Crohn's disease include, but are not limited to:

  • Blood Transfusion: You may need a blood transfusion if your blood count is low.
  • Diet: No special diet has been proven to prevent or treat Crohn's disease. You may find that your symptoms are made worse by milk, alcohol, hot spices, or fiber.
  • Medicine: Most people are treated with medicine to help control inflammation, control diarrhea, or infection. You may also be given medicine to slow down your immune system.
  • Nutritional Supplements: Taking vitamins, herbs, or other nutritional supplements may be very important especially for children who are growing too slowly. Only take nutritional supplements given to you by your caregiver. Other ones may interact with the medicine you are taking.
  • Surgery: Surgery may be needed to help lessen your symptoms or to correct complications like blockage or bleeding. But, surgery cannot cure Crohn's disease.

To find out more

UK HealthCare Digestive Health Program
Appointments and information 1-800-333-8874
ukhealthcare.uky.edu/Digestive 

Offers complete evaluation, diagnosis and clinical management of all gastroenterological issues. Specialties include inflammatory bowel disease, therapeutic and advanced endoscopy hepatology and transplant hepatology, clinical nutrition, motility, and women's gastrointestinal health.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC)
1-800-891-5389
www.niddk.nih.gov
Provides general information about what Crohn's disease is and how it develops. Includes information about symptoms, diagnosis, potential complications and research trials that are available.

Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America
1-800-932-2423
www.ccfa.org
Organization devoted to improving the quality of life for people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis through research.

Page last updated: 6/9/2014 4:25:22 PM