At UAMS, our comprehensive gastroenterology program provides treatments for conditions such as Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation of the digestive system.
Crohn’s disease can affect any area from the mouth to the anus, but it most commonly affects the lower part of the small intestine. In some cases it can affect both the large and small intestine or the entire digestive tract.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease, which is an immune-mediated inflammatory disease, is unknown. However, genes, environmental factors and an overreaction of the body to normal bacteria in the intestine seem to play a role in developing the disease.
Crohn’s disease affects males and females equally. It appears to run in some families, with about 20 percent of people with Crohn’s disease having a blood relative with some form of inflammatory bowel disease. This condition may occur at any age, but it usually occurs in people between ages 15 – 35. Along with family history, you are more likely to develop Crohn’s disease if you smoke.
Each individual may experience symptoms differently, but the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Abdominal pain, often in the lower right area
- Diarrhea, sometimes bloody
- Rectal bleeding
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain and swelling
- Rectal fissure
- Swollen gums
- Skin lumps or sores
- Eye inflammation
The symptoms of Crohn’s disease may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
Even though there is not a cure for Crohn’s disease, there are several methods used to control the symptoms. These methods include, but are not limited to:
- Regulating diet and nutrition
- Managing stress
- Taking medications
Contact the UAMS Gastroenterology Clinic for more information.