What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the digestive system. Often it occurs during adolescence and is equally frequent in men and women. Its symptoms are often mistakenly assessed by patients as ulcerative colitis, which is why they should refer to a specialized General Surgeon for its diagnosis.
It can affect any part of the digestive tract, but most often occurs in the lower part of the small intestine (the ileum). This particular disease affects all layers of the intestinal wall and often spreads deep into the affected organ.
Crohn’s disease does not affect a person’s life expectancy. Especially when detected early and controlled by available therapies, the patient can live a normal life, without limitations.
What are the causes of the disease?
The exact etiology of Crohn’s disease remains unknown. However, there is plenty of data relating the inflammation of the digestive tract to genetic predisposition as well as to external factors.
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
As previously mentioned, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. The symptoms vary depending on the area of occurrence and the severity of the disease. The most frequent symptoms are:
- weight loss
- severe bloating
A smaller percentage of patients may show extraintestinal manifestations of the disease. These affect various parts of the body such as the eyes, skin or joints.
If you have symptoms, contact General Surgeon Pericles Chrysocheris as soon as possible. The Doctor, being well trained in diseases of the colon and the digestive system in general, is able to recommend the ideal treatment plan according to your own needs.
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
A specialized General Surgeon is required to diagnose Crohn’s disease. A safe and documented diagnosis begins with the medical history and clinical examination of the patient undergoes.
Endoscopy of the lower digestive tract (colonoscopy), histological examination and blood tests may also be required. Colonoscopy examines the colon and allows the doctor to take samples from the intestine for biopsy.
Another examination that may be required is an MRI, to examine the small intestine.
What is the treatment of Crohn’s disease?
To this day, no treatment has been developed to definitively treat Crohn’s disease. But there are some types of treatment that deal with its symptoms.
The most common type of conservative treatment is medication, which provides symptom relief. Thanks to the treatment, patients greatly reduce the symptomatology, consequently improving their quality of life.
Surgery is a last resort if medication fails or in the case of serious adverse complications. It is also necessary in extreme cases such as bowel obstruction or perforation. It is important to note that surgery does not permanently cure the disease. But it can reduce the symptoms and some adverse conditions caused by Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease and nutrition
Adopting a balanced diet plays a key role in containing Crohn’s disease. Proper nutrition may help prevent or relieve complications of Crohn’s disease, such as:
- reduced absorption of important components
The ideal diet is always determined by the patient’s condition, wishes and special needs.