What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which affects approximately 1 in 300 people in the UK. It is characterized by inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract and can affect any part including the colon and small bowel. In some cases, the inflammation can penetrate through the bowel wall (such as a fistula) or causes narrowing (stricturing), both of which suggest a more progressive disease course. There is a high risk for surgery during the course of the disease, although the aim of treatment is to remove or reduce the need for surgery where possible.
Symptoms can be quite variable and include:
- Abdominal pain
- Eye inflammation
- Joint pains
- Rectal bleeding
- Skin rashes
- Temperatures and fevers
The cause of Crohn’s disease remains unknown but is likely to be a complex interaction between an environmental factor (possibly such as a microbe in the bowel) triggering an abnormal inflammatory immune response in people with a genetic risk.
Investigations for Crohn’s disease include:
- Blood tests
- Stool tests for infection and inflammation
- Endoscopy (e.g. Flexible sigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy)
- Imaging (such as ultrasound, MRI and CT scans)
Treatment is usually with medical therapy such as immunosuppressant medications, however, other options include initial dietary advice, lifestyle changes and simple natural remedies.
If you are concerned about Crohn’s disease or have a family history, you can book a consultation with Dr Goel to discuss investigation and treatment options best suited to you.