Crohn’s Disease

Senior man is suffering stomach pain
Crohn Disease, human intestines with inflammation
At UNC Health®, our colorectal medical and surgical providers specialize in treating Crohn’s disease in Raleigh, NC. Our compassionate team of specialists understands the impact on one’s quality of life when navigating the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease is a condition that affects millions worldwide, while there is no direct cure, there is relief with treatment options for symptom management.

Understanding Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s Disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) characterized by inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. The inflammation often spreads deep into affected tissues, causing pain and, sometimes, life-threatening complications. Crohn’s can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus, but most commonly affects the end of the small intestine and the beginning of the colon.

Symptoms vary between individuals and may fluctuate with periods of flare-ups and remission. Patients commonly experience persistent abdominal pain, often localized in specific regions, indicative of inflammation or obstruction within the intestines. The formation of fistulas, abnormal connections between different areas of the body, can occur, leading to complications such as the passage of stool through unintended pathways. Additionally, mouth ulcers, and painful sores within the oral cavity, are frequent manifestations of the disease.

Perianal abscesses, infections in the tissues surrounding the anus, can develop, resulting in pain, swelling, and sometimes fever. Severe diarrhea, a hallmark symptom, arises from the inflammation and disruption of normal bowel function, often accompanied by urgency and cramping, significantly impacting the patient’s quality of life.

Crohn’s Disease Treatment Overview
There is currently no cure for Crohn’s Disease, but treatments can reduce its symptoms and even bring about long-term remission. Approaches include medication, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery. The treatment plan is highly individualized, based on the severity of the disease, the affected part of the GI tract, and the patient’s response to previous treatment attempts. Our treatment team collaborates closely with you, an essential component in managing the disease effectively.
Medication Options

Medications play a central role in managing Crohn’s Disease. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aminosalicylates and corticosteroids are often used to reduce inflammation. Immune system suppressors like azathioprine and methotrexate can also effectively maintain remission. C therapies, targeting specific pathways that cause inflammation, are another option for patients who do not respond to traditional treatments.

Additionally, antibiotics may be prescribed to treat or prevent infections. It is essential to discuss the benefits and side effects of these medications with your healthcare provider, as finding the right medication or combination of medications can take time.

Crohn’s Disease Symptom Management
Lifestyle changes can help manage symptoms and maintain remission. A balanced diet, avoiding foods that trigger symptoms, can play a crucial role. Regular exercise, quitting smoking, and stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga can also contribute to better disease management. Additionally, regular communication with your healthcare team, including dietitians and mental health professionals, can provide support for both physical and emotional well-being.
Surgical Options for Crohn’s Disease
Surgery may be necessary if medications fail to control symptoms, or if complications arise. Procedures can remove damaged portions of the digestive tract, relieve blockages, or close fistulas. While surgery does not cure Crohn’s, it can significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Contact Us to Learn More
If you are grappling with the challenges of Crohn’s disease, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with our service. By leveraging the latest treatments and comprehensive approach to patient wellness, we strive to improve the lives of those living with inflammatory bowel disease. Contact us today to get started, our dedicated team of colorectal specialists is improving the quality of life for patients affected with inflammatory bowel disease every day at UNC Health in Raleigh.

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Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Surgery

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