Crohn's disease is a lifelong inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Parts of the digestive tract get swollen and irritated and may develop deep sores called ulcers. Crohn's disease usually occurs in the last part of the small intestine and the first part of the large intestine. But it can develop anywhere from the mouth to the anus.
The main symptoms of Crohn's disease are belly pain, diarrhea, fever, and weight loss. Some people may have constipation. Crohn's disease also sometimes causes problems with the joints, eyes, or skin. Your symptoms may be mild at some times and severe at others. The disease can also go into remission, which means that it is not active and you have no symptoms. Bad attacks of Crohn's disease often have to be treated in the hospital so that you can get medicines and liquids through a tube in your vein, called an IV. This gives your digestive system time to rest and recover.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatments for you. You may need medicines that help prevent or treat flare-ups of the disease. You may need surgery to remove part of your bowel if you have an abnormal opening in the bowel (fistula), an abscess, or a bowel obstruction. In some cases, surgery is needed if medicines do not work. But symptoms often return to other areas of the intestines after surgery.
Learning good self-care can help you reduce your symptoms and manage Crohn's disease.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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