Everything You Need to Know About Crohn's Disease

Whether you’re in the early stages of Crohn’s disease and are just now identifying some possible symptoms, or you have lived with the condition for years, you’re better off the more information you have.

The experts at GastroMed use the most advanced technology and diagnostic tools to identify and treat a variety of gastrointestinal disorders, including Crohn’s disease. Our doctors provide in-depth analysis and evaluation; compassionate, patient-centered care; and state-of-the-art procedures that help you manage your Crohn’s disease and live your life to the fullest.

What Crohn’s disease is

Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which means that the problem is in your gastrointestinal tract. It can show up anywhere in your digestive system from your mouth to your anus, but most commonly occurs in the small intestine or upper large intestine.

The inflammation is damaging and causes various symptoms, such as:

What Crohn’s disease is not

Because they have some similar symptoms, Crohn’s disease is often mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). But IBS is neither chronic nor caused by inflammation, but rather, it’s a condition that affects the muscle contractions in the bowel.

Crohn’s disease is also not the same as ulcerative colitis, although they both fall under the category of IBD and have many of the same symptoms.

Here are the main differences between Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis:

Where it develops

Crohn’s disease develops anywhere in the entire GI tract. Ulcerative colitis usually develops in the colon and rectum only.

Manner in which it appears

Crohn’s disease appears somewhat haphazardly. Ulcerative colitis appears in a definite pattern.

Areas affected

Crohn’s disease affects the whole bowel wall. Ulcerative colitis affects mainly the inside lining of the colon and rectum.

Who tends to get Crohn’s disease?

Nearly 700,000 people in the United States suffer from Crohn’s disease. While it’s not contagious, it may be hereditary: About 20% of those who have Crohn’s come from a family with a history of the disease.

Generally speaking, Crohn’s disease does not discriminate: Both men and women get it equally as frequently, and although most fall between the ages of 15 and 35, it can happen at any age.

No one knows exactly what causes Crohn’s disease, but the current research leans toward genetics and an overactive immune system, where the cells in your immune system attack the lining of your digestive tract.

Diagnosing Crohn’s disease

The only way to know for sure if you have Crohn’s disease is to get tested. Our GastroMed doctors are all at the top of their field and specialize in properly diagnosing and treating you.

They start by getting to know you and your unique symptoms, followed by a thorough physical exam and personal and family medical history. Those steps determine which tests are needed, which may include any combination of the following:

Can Crohn’s be cured?

No. Unfortunately, Crohn’s disease is something you’ll live with your whole life. But with proper care and a knowledgeable medical team in your corner, you can manage the symptoms and do your best to steer clear of complications. At GastroMed, our doctors help you control your Crohn’s through:

If you have Crohn’s disease, you know your condition is unpredictable. You may go through periods of relative normalcy when everything feels fine (called remission), and then have a flare-up that makes sticking to a routine almost impossible. Plus, the symptoms and their severity varies from one Crohn’s sufferer to the next, so what one person experiences may be nothing like what you’re going through.

If you’re living with Crohn’s disease and want to take back your life, call us at any of our five GastroMed locations throughout Miami today, or use our convenient online scheduling tools (click “Appt. Request” at the top of this page), and give yourself the best chance of managing your unpredictable Crohn’s disease symptoms.



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