At least 1.3 million Americans have inflammatory bowel disease — Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis — today. At the Centers for Digestive Health in Highland, Gary, Merrillville, Dyer, Crown Point, and DeMotte, Indiana, the team of board-certified gastroenterologists expertly diagnose and treat Crohn’s disease using a full range of advanced approaches. Book your appointment through online scheduling or call the nearest office.
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease in which any part of your digestive tract — from your mouth down to your anus — can develop severe inflammation. The most commonly affected areas are the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the large intestine.
Crohn’s disease damage can work its way through both outer and inner layers of tissue, potentially even tunneling into nearby organs (a fistula). In contrast, ulcerative colitis (the other inflammatory bowel disease) only causes damage to the colon.
Crohn’s disease causes flare-ups that can be quite difficult to cope with. Some of the issues that Crohn’s disease can cause include:
Sometimes, these symptoms are very similar to those of other GI conditions, including colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and colon cancer. So, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to get the specific treatment you need.
Because there's no specific single test for Crohn's disease, diagnosis involves ruling out other conditions. Your doctor at the Centers for Digestive Health may perform:
A Crohn’s disease diagnosis may take time, but it’s well worth the effort to get a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan.
Just as there's no specific test to diagnose the disease, there's no single treatment for Crohn's disease. For many people, a combination approach works very well.
Common treatments include:
Medications options include antibiotics, steroids, immunosuppressants, and biologics. You can’t take steroids or antibiotics long-term because of side effects; you may only take them for a few weeks or months at a time. With biologics, you typically have IV treatments every month or two. With all of these medication options, your doctor monitors your condition closely.
If you have very severe Crohn's disease, you could need short-term intravenous (IV) or feeding tube nutrition to give your bowels a rest.
Surgery can relieve your symptoms if nonoperative treatment doesn't work or if you have severe complications like colon perforation, uncontrolled bleeding, or intestinal strictures. Around 50% of people living with Crohn’s disease eventually need surgery.
In addition to your medical treatment, lifestyle changes like taking nutritional supplements, avoiding certain trigger foods, and managing your stress effectively can help make your bouts of Crohn’s easier to manage.
Learn more about how the Centers for Digestive Health can help with Crohn’s disease by calling the office nearest you or clicking the online appointment scheduler.