Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus, but is most commonly found at the end of the small intestine (the ileum) where it joins the beginning of the large intestine (or colon). It can also affect skin, eyes, and joints.
The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and diarrhea. Other symptoms include: bleeding from the rectum, weight loss and fever. Doctors can diagnose Crohn’s disease with a physical exam, lab tests, imaging tests and a colonoscopy. Complications, such as intestinal blockages, ulcers in the intestine, and problems getting enough nutrients can often result from this condition.
The cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown. However, it is likely due to an abnormal response of the immune system. Food or bacteria in the intestines, or even the lining of the bowel may cause the uncontrolled inflammation associated with Crohn’s disease. It also seems to run in some families.
There is no cure for this disease, but treatment can help control symptoms. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may be eligible for a no cost Crohn’s disease clinical trial. To find out if a clinical trial is enrolling near you select from one of our three locations below. Use the form to schedule a free appointment to meet with one of our professionals who will help you determine if a clinical trial is right for you.
Medications such as steroids and immunosuppressants are used to slow the progression of disease. If these aren’t effective, a patient may require surgery. Additionally, patients with Crohn’s disease may need to receive regular screening for colorectal cancer due to increased risk. It’s important not to confuse an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a disorder that affects the muscle contractions of the bowel and is not characterized by intestinal inflammation, nor is it a chronic disease.