Dr. Joseph Felder explains what Crohn's Disease is and provides important information about the disease that can help those that are newly diagnosed.
Crohn's Disease is an inflammatory bowel disease which has a relationship to Ulcerative Colitis. Both of these diseases affect our intestines, but they affect them differently. Ulcerative Colitis only affects the large intestine, or the colon. Crohn's Disease can affect anywhere from the mouth down to the rear end, the rectum, the entire intestine. The symptoms for Crohn's Disease vary tremendously. Most of them are common symptoms such as diarrhea or bloody diarrhea or abdominal pain.
The most likely ways of diagnosing Crohn's Disease and ruling out other things is through diagnostic tests, in which the doctor is looking for inflammatory changes within the intestine. These inflammatory changes may include abnormal connections, called the fistula, or ulcerations within the surface of the bowel.
Exacerbation of the illness with the typical symptoms of Crohn's Disease are called flares or flare-ups. When we are able to control these with treatments, that is considered a remission.
Crohn's Disease occurs both in men and women at the same rate and usually in the 20's or in the teens and then there's a second peek that occurs in the early 40's to the late 50's.
Though there is no cure for Crohn's Disease, there are many therapies available that help people lead very normal lives.