Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition which results in inflammation in the bowel. It may involve all parts of the bowel, including the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel and colon and often will present with symptoms such as abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, anaemia and growth issues. Patients may have mouth ulcers, and they may have problems at the bottom end as well. Without treatment, complications such as stricture, accesses, perforation can occur.
Diagnosis is helped by a faeces test, called calprotectin, and also blood tests, including full blood count, ESR and CRP. If clinical suspicion dictates then the best way to make the diagnosis is by gastroscopy and colonoscopy. Other tests such as wireless capsule endoscopy and abdominal MRI scan can be helpful.
Treatment options are tailored to the individual based on age, gender, disease severity and disease distribution. There various types of treatment including exclusive liquid diets and various forms of immunosuppression. Surgery is sometimes required and may recommended at times.
With aggressive early therapy or rapid step-up therapy approaches, complications of of Crohn’s can usually be prevented. However, Crohn’s disease a serious condition which requires ongoing monitoring and treatment.