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Crohn's disease is a chronic disease which causes inflammation of the digestive system. It is a serious condition which affects any part of the gut from mouth to anus; however, last part of the small intestine and upper part of large intestine are usually affected. Crohn’s disease is a life-threatening complication in which inflammation can spread deep into the layers of bowel tissue, causing severe pain. Various treatment options are available for the treatment of Crohn’s disease. The condition can be effectively managed when diagnosed in early stages.


Stomach pain and bloody diarrhea are the most common symptoms of Crohn’s disease. Few people may experience diarrhea for almost 20 times a day. Other symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Fatigue and fever
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Mouth sores
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss
  • Fistulas or perianal disease
  • Vomitings

The patient should consult the doctor immediately if there are persistent changes in the bowel or if the above symptoms are seen for a longer duration.


The exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still not known. Few researchers believe that it is caused by diet and stress. The other causes of Crohn's disease are:

  • Immune system- Crohn’s disease occurs when the body’s immune system has an abnormal response to normal bacteria in the intestine.
  • Hereditary- Crohn’s disease may run in families.
  • Smoking- people habituated to smoking have higher chances of getting Crohn’s disease.


The doctor first assesses the symptoms and performs physical examination. If Crohn's disease is suspected, the doctor may suggest other tests such as:

  • Blood tests- to check if the patient has anemia, infections, sufficient red blood cell count etc.
  • Barium X-rays of the small intestine and colon
  • Biopsy- using an endoscope, a sample tissue of infected intestine is taken to check if the patient has Crohn’s disease.
  • Colonoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy- in this test, the doctor uses a thin, lighted tube attached with a camera to look into the colon and intestines.
  • Stool analysis- this tests helps to look for blood and signs of infection in a stool sample.
  • Imaging tests- CT scan and MRI scans are also performed to look into the entire bowel and the tissues outside the bowel.


Treatment depends on the signs and severity of the disease. Few patients may find relief by making alterations in the diet, especially by taking liquid diet. Crohn’s disease can be usually managed through medications that help reduce the inflammation that triggers the signs and symptoms. If the condition is not treated with medications, surgery would be beneficial.


  • Antiinflammatory drugs- These drugs are prescribed to relieve inflammation in the gut wall. Examples include oral 5-aminosalicylates (sulfasalazine, mesalamine), corticosteroids (prednisone).
  • Immuno suppressants- These drugs target the immune system that causes inflammation. Examples include Azathioprine, infliximab, methotrexate, cyclosporins.
  • Antibiotics- these drugs help to relieve amount of drainage and heal fistulas and abscess. Examples include metronidazole, ciprofloxacin.
  • Other medications- these include medications that help relieve signs and symptoms. Examples include antidiarrheals (psyllium, methylcellulose), pain relievers (acetaminophen), iron supplements, vitamin B12, calcium and vitamin D supplements.


If lifestyle changes and medications do not cure Crohn’s disease, surgery would be beneficial. The commonly used surgical technique to treat Crohn's disease is strictureplasty. In this technique, segment of the intestine is widened that has become too narrow. However, the benefits of surgery are temporary.

Lifestyle changes

Changes in diet and lifestyle help control the symptoms of Crohn's disease.

  • Try to eliminate the activities that aggravate the symptoms
  • Avoid dairy products as it causes diarrhea, gas, and abdominal pain
  • Take low-fat foods
  • Avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and caffeine
  • Eat smaller meals many times a day
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Exercise regularly
  • Practice relaxation and breathing exercises

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