Crohn's Disease in Arizona
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What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is part of a larger group of diseases referenced as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This disease causes painful swelling of the digestive system. The disease oftentimes involves the small bowel as well as colon, however it might impact any portion of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease is not the same as the other form of IBD referred to as ulcerative colitis.
Crohn’s disease typically affects the entirety of the intestinal wall and often goes even further into deeper portions of the involved bowel tissue. This GI disease is often very uncomfortable and can possibly grow into more serious complications. If you or someone you love deal with the implications of Crohn’s disease, we implore you to consult with Arizona Digestive Health. Our board-certified gastroenterologists in Phoenix, AZ are dedicated to assisting our patients increase their quality of life using proven treatments.
What are some causes of Crohn's disease?
The precise cause of Crohn’s disease is undiscovered. However, there are some known factors that seem to impact the likeliness of being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and its symptoms.
- Genetics: You might inherit genetic material from a parent/parents, which place you at a greater risk of developing Crohn’s disease. As high a percentage as 20% of individuals with Crohn’s disease have a family member who also has been diagnosed with the disease or a similar inflammatory bowel disease. It is most common in those between the ages of 20 and 30.
- Immune system: It is thought that internal bacteria or viruses might trigger Crohn’s disease. When the body initiates the immune system to defend against a virus or bacteria, an abnormal immune system response can attack the cells found with the digestive system as well. As a result, areas of the small bowel as wll as the colon become inflamed.
What are some common symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Usually symptoms associated with Crohn’s disease manifest over time, and they be from mild to severe. Crohn’s disease symptoms may involve:
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal pain
- Drainage or pain near or around the anus
- Sores in the mouth
- Sudden weight loss
- Bleeding from the rectum
- Cramps in the stomach
- Disruption of usual menstrual cycle
- Slowed development in children
Contact Arizona Digestive Health immediately if you become aware of persisting changes regarding your bowel habits, or you are experiencing any of the following list of symptoms:
- Bloody stool
- Unrelenting diarrhea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Fever lasting for more than one day
- Persistent and/or severe pain in the abdomen
How is Crohn’s disease typically treated?
There is, at present, no cure for Crohn’s disease, and its treatment can vary from person to person. The main goals of Crohn’s disease treatments are to control the inflammation that initiates symptoms, and then achieve and remain in remission. In the best cases, the disease will go into long-term remission in a person who is given proper care. Crohn’s disease might be treated with one or a combination of the listed treatment options.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics may be able to eliminate bacteria that trigger the unusual immune system response that causes inflammation. These are not a mainstay of therapy but may be used in conjunction with other therapies.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Steroids or corticosteroids may be administered to address swelling during the process of implementing a long-term treatment plan. Corticosteroids assist in the reduction of inflammation in one's body and can be used in tandem with immune system suppressants.
Long-term anti-inflammatory therapies: These therapies address the body’s inappropriate immune response to viruses and bacteria. A partial list of the immunosuppressant medications an Arizona Digestive Health gastroenterologist could prescribe include: methotrexate, natalizumab, vedolizumab, ustekinumab, azathioprine, infliximab, adalimumab, and certolizumab.
Diet: The gastroenterologist may recommend special nutritional protocols to help with symptoms and aid in inducing remission.
Surgery: Sometimes, patients with Crohn’s disease may need surgery to treat bleeding, infection, fistulas, or blockages if medication is not helping. Others could require surgery to remove the diseased section of the intestine.
Medications for symptoms: Certain medications and supplements could also be recommended to help manage Crohn’s disease symptoms. These might include:
- Vitamin B-12 shots
- Iron supplements
- Vitamin D and calcium supplements
Assistance is available for Crohn's disease in Phoenix, AZ. Call Arizona Digestive Health to find out more about potential treatment options.
Could Crohn’s disease cause health complications?
Intestinal blockage is sometimes known to occur in individuals who have Crohn’s disease. A blockage occurs because the bowel wall thickens or swells from inflammation and scar tissue. In addition, ulcers have been known be the cause of tunnels that might grow through inflamed portions of the bowel to nearby bowel tissues or possibly other organs.
If you have Crohn’s disease, you could lack sufficient amounts of calories, protein or vitamins in the food you consume. This may be due to the fact that you may not be able to absorb nutrients from your food, you deal with an uncomfortable stomach preventing you from eating enough food, or you might be losing protein through the intestine.
Additional complications of Crohn’s disease may include:
- Kidney stones
- Swelling of the eyes or mouth
- Dermatological issues
Is Crohn's disease fatal?
Crohn’s disease isn't considered a fatal disease. However, if not addressed properly, given some time, a person who has Crohn’s disease could develop health problems that may be fatal. Arizona Digestive Health may provide information on several clinical studies and care programs to help control the symptoms and enhance the lives of those dealing with Crohn’s disease.
Patient-centered treatment for Crohn's disease
At Arizona Digestive Health, we understand the impact Crohn’s disease can have on your overall well-being and daily life. Our board-certified GI specialists are masters at treating GI conditions like Crohn’s disease, and we are dedicated to delivering expert, personalized service to each of our patients. To connect with a physician in Phoenix, AZ who specializes in treating Crohn’s disease, we encourage you contact our team today.
Crohn's Disease FAQs
How is Crohn’s disease detected?
The detection of Crohn's disease is often achieved through one or more testing methods. Our Arizona Digestive Health physicians may start by learning about your health history, the signs and symptoms you have noticed, and any familial history of IBD or Crohn's. After conducting an examination, they may order endoscopic exams (like an EGD and a colonoscopy) and laboratory testing of fecal and blood samples. MRIs, CT scans, and other imaging might also be used in diagnosing Crohn’s disease.
Is Crohn’s disease a progressive condition?
Crohn’s disease is often a chronic, long-lasting medical condition, the effects of which can vary from individual to individual. Even though the symptoms of this disease may range from slight to acute, the severity can also fluctuate. Crohn’s disease can worsen over time, and flares may arise.
Can Crohn’s disease be cured?
Presently, there is no way to cure Crohn’s disease. In some individuals, the condition might fall into remission when it is not in an active state. Getting Crohn's disease treatment and working to reduce inflammation could help control the condition and reduce its symptoms.
Does diet have an impact on Crohn’s disease?
Dietary factors do not seem to cause Crohn’s disease. Although some foods may elicit Crohn's flare-ups or certain symptoms, this can range among individuals. Consult your gastrointestinal specialist about possible diet modifications you might adopt to help calm the effects of Crohn's disease.
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Dr. Dennert is the most understanding doctor that i have had. She listens carefully and together we are managing my Crohn's disease. The office staff and medical assistant Blanca are very kind and also mindful of people's time. I've been to some doctors where they had me waiting in the front office and exam room for over an hour! Not at Arizona Digestive Health!!! I'm so grateful to have found such a caring and compassionate doctor to help me manage my condition.