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Crohn’s Disease Symptoms and Treatment

Crohn’s disease symptoms and treatment vary depending on what’s causing your symptoms and how severe they are for you. This disease is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn’s disease causes your digestive tract to become swollen and irritated. If you have the disease, you might experience symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, weight loss, and rectal bleeding.

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of your small or large intestine, and it can involve multiple segments of your intestine. In some cases, the disease is confined to the colon, which is part of the large intestine. Mild to severe Crohn’s disease symptoms are possible. The symptoms usually develop gradually, but sometimes suddenly appear without warning. There may also be periods without symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Crohn’s Disease?

When the disease is active, symptoms may include:

People with severe Crohn’s Disease may also experience:

  • Kidney stones
  • Inflammation of the liver or bile ducts 
  • Inflammation of skin, eyes, and joints
  • Delayed growth or sexual development 
  • Iron deficiency 

See your doctor if you have persistent changes in your bowel habits or if you have any of the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, such as:

  • Unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Abdominal pain
  • Blood in your stool
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

What Causes Crohn’s Disease?

Certain factors may increase your risk of developing Crohn’s Disease, including:

  • Genes – Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often runs in families. If you have a parent, sibling, or other family members with Crohn’s, you may be at an increased risk of also having it. 
  • Smoking – Cigarette smoking could as much as double your risk of Crohn’s disease.
  • Autoimmune disease – Bacteria in the digestive tract may cause the body’s immune system to attack your healthy cells. 

Treatment of Crohn’s Disease

Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more of these treatments for Crohn’s disease:

Antibiotics

Anti-inflammatory drugs 

Immune system suppressors

Biologics

  • Natalizumab (Tysabri)
  • Vedolizumab (Entyvio)
  • Infliximab (Remicade)
  • Adalimumab (Humira)
  • Certolizumab Pegol (Cimzia)
  • Ustekinumab (Stelara)

Other medications

  • Psyllium Powder (Metamucil)
  • Methylcellulose (Citrucel)
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Naproxen Sodium (Aleve)

How Is Crohn’s Disease Diagnosed?

Most people with Crohn’s disease first see a doctor because of ongoing diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, or belly cramping. To find the cause of your symptoms, your doctor may order one or more of these tests:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Colonoscopy
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy
  • Upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam

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