If you suffer from chronic abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss, you may have Crohn’s disease. At GI Associates of Maryland in Waldorf, Maryland, the team diagnoses Crohn’s disease and offers customized treatments and lifestyle advice to help you manage your condition and improve your health. To learn more, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation in your digestive tract. Although Crohn’s disease mostly affects the small intestine and colon, it can also affect different parts of your digestive tract.
When your digestive tract is inflamed, you develop symptoms such as:
Your symptoms can range in severity, and if left untreated, Crohn’s disease may spread into the deepest layers of your bowel tissue and lead to painful, debilitating, and potentially life-threatening complications.
While doctors and medical researchers don’t fully understand the cause of Crohn’s disease, they know that genetics and family history contribute to your risk and that the inflammation may be triggered by an infection that over-stimulates your immune system, causing it to attack the cells in your digestive tract.
Some of the risk factors for Crohn’s disease include:
If you’re concerned about Crohn’s disease or digestive problems, it’s critical to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. When Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel conditions aren’t treated, they can lead to dangerous complications such as bowel obstructions, ulcers, and fistulas.
Unfortunately, no single test identifies Crohn’s disease, so your GI Associates of Maryland doctor needs to run various tests to rule out other conditions.
In most cases, your doctor combines blood tests, fecal testing, and diagnostic procedures such as colonoscopy, CT scans, and capsule endoscopy to diagnose Crohn’s disease and rule out other inflammatory bowel diseases and infections.
The GI Associates of Maryland doctors offer customized treatments to control Crohn’s disease and relieve your symptoms. They may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids or medicines to suppress your immune system, such as azathioprine or infliximab.
Sometimes, your doctor may recommend a period of nutritional therapy via tube feeding. This therapy ensures you get the necessary nutrients while reducing inflammation and allowing your bowel to rest.
Your doctor may also prescribe medications such as antidiarrheals, pain relievers, and iron supplements to reduce your symptoms. You can also benefit from adjusting your diet to minimize foods that contribute to inflammation.
Call GI Associates of Maryland or schedule a consultation online to learn more about Crohn’s disease and available treatment options.