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MAIN Arrow to HealthHealth Arrow to DiseaseDiseases & Conditions Arrow to Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's Disease

Crohn's disease symptoms & treatment

Crohn's Disease | IBS

Lactose Intolerance


Named for medical researcher Burrill Bernard Crohn in the early 20th century, Crohn's disease is one of the most common inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

Like ulcerative colitis, for which it is commonly mistaken, Crohn's disease causes chronic inflammation of the intestinal tract. However, Crohn's disease is generally more pervasive, and can effect not only the large intestine but the entire digestive tract.

While there is no known cure for Crohn's disease, there are drug therapies and special diets available to help reduce symptoms.

Symptoms may appear slowly over time, or arise without warning. They commonly include abdominal pain and cramping, diarrhea or constipation, bloody stools, ulcers, nausea or vomiting, reduced appetite, and resulting weight loss.

The causes of Crohn's disease are still unknown, although medical studies suggest that a certain bacterium may trigger the condition. Researchers also point to a possible immune response to the bacterium that causes some people and not others to develop symptoms. Factors such as stress or diet may also play a pivotal role, especially in urban areas where the disease is most commonly diagnosed.

Diagnosing Crohn's disease may begin with a simple blood test to check for signs of infection,or may include more invasive techniques such as colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, barium enema, or special x-ray techniques.

diagram showing where crohn's disease occurs
Crohn's disease can affect any part of the
gastrointestinal tract but most commonly
occurs in the ileum, where the small
and large intestine meet.

Treating Crohn's disease

Therapies commonly involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs to treat the most painful symptoms.

Certain medications such as sulfasalazine (the most traditional treatment) as well as mesalamine, steroid drugs, and immunosuppressants all carry the risk of certain side effects that should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor.

Over the counter medications such as Metamucil or Citracel may also be recommended for symptoms of diarrhea. Laxatives for constipation, or acetaminophen for pain relief may also be prescribed.

If bloody stools or rectal bleeding occurs, iron supplements may be given for symptoms of anemia.

Diet also plays an important role in reducing symptoms, and experts usually recommend low fat foods and avoidance of foods likely to cause gas - such as raw vegetables, beans, cabbage or broccoli, as well as citrus fruits, spicy foods, carbonated drinks, coffee and alcohol. Limiting the use of milk and other dairy products also helps many sufferers with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and gas who may be lactose intolerant

Although role of stress has been recently discounted as a root cause of Crohn's disease, it commonly worsens the condition by triggering a flare-up of symptoms, so proper exercise and stress-relieving techniques also play an important part in self care.

Elsewhere on the Web, find out more about the condition at sites offering comprehensive expert information, treatment options and recommended foods and diet, along with helpful support and the how to's of diet, stress relief, and self care found in patient forums and discussion boards ...

More about Crohn's disease around the Web:

Crohn's Disease
- Brief overview with facts on causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and related links to more information.

Crohn's Disease - Wikipedia - Check out information on causes, symptoms and treatment, surgery, risks & complications, with more on medications in development, pictures & illustrations, references and related links to U.S. and international organizations, online communities & support groups.

Crohn's Disease - Diet & Nutrition - Guidelines from the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America with information on food absorption, what foods patients should avoid, how to avoid cramping after meals, advice on nutritional supplements.

Crohn's Zone - UK community offering facts, information and advice on Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis including feature articles, busy forum, related links, book reviews & suggested reading.


This information is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.


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