What Is Crohn’s Disease?


Posted By Author on May 27, 2021

What is Crohn’s disease? Impacting about half a million Americans, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract – including the stomach, intestines and bowel. Both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Although its cause remains unknown, the disease has been linked to issues with the body’s immune system response. The overreaction results in the chronic inflammation of the bowels and intestines. Genetics are another potential cause, as well as smoking. In fact, cigarette smoking could as much as double your risk of developing this disease.

Our team of GI specialist are committed to providing a higher standard of caring, so if you are experiencing the following signs and symptoms of this disease, contact your trusted gastroenterologists in Charleston today!

Five Types of Crohn’s Disease

From mouth to anus, Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the digestive tract. There are five main types:

  • Ileocolitis
    Ileocolitis is the most common type, causing inflammation and irritation of the lower part of the small intestine and colon. Symptoms include:

    • Diarrhea
    • Significant weight loss
    • Pain or cramping in the middle or lower right abdomen
  • Ileitis
    This type of Crohn’s disease is very similar to ileocolitis, involving the inflammation and irritation to the lower part of the small intestine. In addition to the signs and symptoms listed above, fistulas (inflammatory abscesses) may develop.
  • Gastroduodenal Crohn’s disease
    This type affects the stomach and the first part of the small intestine. Symptoms include:

    • Nausea
    • Lack of appetite
    • Weight loss
    • Possible vomiting
  • Jejunoileitis
    Occuring in the second part of the small intestine, jejunoileitis symptoms include:

    • Cramps after meals
    • Diarrhea
    • Abdominal discomfort that can become severe
    • Fistulas
  • Crohn’s Colitis
    This type affects the colon, the main part of the large intestine. Symptoms of Crohn’s colitis include:

    • Joint pain
    • Rectal bleeding
    • Diarrhea
    • Skin lesions
    • Possible fistulas and ulcers

How to manage it

Although this is no cure to Crohn’s disease, your GI doctor in Charleston may prescribe medication to remedy unpleasant long-term symptoms. Keep in mind that those diagnosed with Crohn’s disease often experience cycles of active symptoms and remission.

Flare-ups or more severe symptoms may occur in response to stress, new medications, infections, antibiotics and changes in the underlying disease. The Charleston GI team recommends keeping a journal to document symptom flare-ups, bowel movements and lifestyle changes.

Changes to diet and eating habits can also play a role. While each patient is different, the following tips often help avoid flare-ups:

  • Eliminate dairy.
  • Skip greasy, fried or spicy foods.
  • Limit high-fiber foods.
  • Minimize caffeine intake.
  • Avoid foods that may cause gas, such as beans.
  • Stick to well-cooked vegetables.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid NSAIDs like ibuprofen.

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all diet to prevent flare-ups. Your GI doctor in Charleston will develop a personalized plan that works for you!

Talk with Your Charleston GI Doctor Today!

In the circumstance, you are experiencing Crohn’s disease symptoms listed above, Charleston GI can help. Our experienced GI specialists are here to discuss your treatment options – and to help you find relief from Crohn’s disease symptoms! There’s no referral needed, so contact us today to schedule your appointment!