Left untreated, Crohn’s disease can cause serious complications like ulcers and intestinal blockages. At her practice in Los Angeles, California, Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS, provides expert care and minimally invasive treatments for gastrointestinal diseases, including complex conditions like Crohn’s disease. If you think you may have Crohn’s disease, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.
Crohn’s disease describes a chronic inflammatory condition involving your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
This part of your body begins in your mouth, passes down your esophagus and into your stomach and intestines before finally ending at your anus. Your GI tract also includes organs like your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.
While Crohn’s disease can develop in any part of your GI tract, it is most common in the last part of your small intestine where it joins to your large intestine, or colon.
The exact cause of Crohn’s disease isn’t known, though it’s believed to involve your immune system and normal bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
Crohn’s disease is not contagious but can run in families. While anyone can develop Crohn’s disease, it is most common in young adults between 16-40 years of age.
Crohn’s disease and a similar condition known as ulcerative colitis (UC) are types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Crohn’s disease symptoms vary depending on where your GI tract has inflammation. However, common symptoms often include:
Sometimes, Crohn’s disease can cause issues with other parts of your body, like your mouth, eyes, skin, and joints.
Crohn’s disease may be diagnosed by review of your clinical history and diagnostic testing, like upper endoscopy or colonoscopy, and other imaging tests.
Many cases of Crohn’s disease respond to nonsurgical treatment, including medicine to manage your symptoms. However, up to 75% of Crohn’s disease cases eventually need surgery. While it isn’t a cure, surgery can often provide long-term relief.
Common Crohn’s disease complications requiring surgical treatment range from abscesses or fistulas to more severe conditions like bowel obstruction or a perforated intestine. When surgery is recommended for Crohn’s disease, Dr. Zaghiyan often performs minimally invasive surgery such as robotic surgery to help improve your surgical recovery.
Depending on the portion of intestine involved, a small bowel resection or colon resection may be recommended, which involves removing the part of your intestine that’s affected and rejoining the ends of your healthy intestine.
For more information on Crohn’s disease, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.