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Our Services / Crohn's Disease

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About Crohn's Disease

About 3.1 million American adults have Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. At Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, the leading gastroenterology specialists offer diagnosis and treatment for Crohn’s disease at 13 locations throughout Charlotte, Belmont, Concord, Davidson, Matthews, Monroe, Huntersville, University, and Pineville, North Carolina. Book an appointment online, or call the office for Crohn’s disease help now. 

Crohn's Disease Q & A

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic disease that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s one of two inflammatory bowel diseases; the other is ulcerative colitis. 

In Crohn’s disease, inflammation usually occurs in the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine, but the inflammation can happen anywhere from the mouth down to the anus.

What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease commonly causes: 

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Unintended weight loss

Crohn’s disease can vary considerably in terms of severity and symptoms. More severe Crohn’s disease can also cause anemia, fever, nausea, joint pain, and eye irritation. 

What causes Crohn’s disease?

The cause of Crohn’s disease is uncertain. Current research indicates that the disease may develop when the immune system reacts abnormally to an invading virus or bacterium. Instead of destroying the intruder, the immune system destroys the inner lining of the intestine.

Other factors, including genetics, long-term use of certain medications, and a consistently high-fat diet, may also play a role in Crohn’s disease. 

Crohn’s disease diagnosis usually occurs in people in their 20s. It’s more common among people who have a parent or sibling with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, and your risk of Crohn’s disease increases if you smoke cigarettes. 

How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?

Your physician at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, performs a complete exam and takes a detailed family history to diagnose Crohn’s disease. There’s no one test that diagnoses Crohn’s disease, so diagnosis involves ruling out other conditions. 

Some of the tests you may need include blood and stool tests along with procedures like colonoscopy, capsule endoscopy, balloon-assisted enteroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or computed tomography (CT) scan.

How is Crohn’s disease treated?

Although there’s no cure for Crohn’s disease, treatment helps control your symptoms, heal your intestine, bring on remission, and dramatically improve your quality of life. Your doctor at Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, can create an individualized treatment plan for you. 

Many different medications, including anti-inflammatories, immune system suppressants, biologics, and antibiotics, can help with Crohn’s disease. Although severe symptoms may require hospitalization for complete bowel rest, most people improve with medication. 

Surgery could be the best way to control symptoms for severe symptoms that resist treatment. With surgery, your doctor removes the damaged intestine and reconnects the healthy parts of the intestine. Some 50% of people with Crohn’s disease need surgery at some point. 

If you have ongoing cramping, diarrhea, weight loss, or other disruptive issues, reach out to the nearest Carolina Digestive Health Associates, PA, office by phone or through the online scheduler now.