Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A.
Gastroenterology & Hepatology located in Annapolis, MD, Kent Island, MD, Odenton, MD, Bowie, MD, Pasadena, MD & Greenbelt, MD
Crohn’s disease is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It affects the lining of your gastrointestinal tract and causes abdominal pain, changes in bowel movements, and other health issues. The gastroenterology team at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A., with locations in Annapolis, Stevensville, Odenton, Bowie, and Pasadena, Maryland, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Crohn’s disease. Call the office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Crohn’s Disease Q & A
What is Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Though the inflammation most often occurs in the small intestine, Crohn’s disease may affect any part of your digestive tract.
The inflammation affects the deeper layers of your GI tract, causing ulcerations that may tunnel through the intestinal wall, creating an opening called a fistula.
Though the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is still under investigation, researchers theorize that the inflammation occurs when the immune cells mistakenly attack and destroy the tissue.
Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition, but medical treatment and monitoring from the experts at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates can help you manage the condition and reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.
What are the symptoms of Crohn’s disease?
Crohn’s disease symptoms vary in type and severity and tend to come and go. Currently, there’s no way to predict when symptoms will occur or how long they’ll last.
Common symptoms of Crohn’s disease include:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Abdominal pain
- Painful bowel movements
- Foul-smelling stools
- Weight loss
- Poor appetite
Your Crohn’s disease may also affect other parts of your body, causing joint swelling and inflammation, redness in your eyes, or a skin rash.
How is Crohn’s disease diagnosed?
There’s no single test to diagnose Crohn’s disease. Your gastroenterologist at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates thoroughly investigates your symptoms so you get an accurate diagnosis.
During your evaluation, your provider reviews your symptoms, medical history, family history, and the types of medications you take. They conduct a physical exam and run various diagnostic tests to confirm or rule out suspected conditions that might explain your symptoms.
The diagnostic tests may include:
- Blood work
- Stool tests
- Upper endoscopy
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Barium enema
- CT scan or MRI
Your gastroenterologist reviews your test results and takes all the evidence into account when making a diagnosis.
How is Crohn’s disease treated?
Your gastroenterologist at Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates focuses on creating a treatment plan that reduces inflammation and your symptoms, prevents complications, and helps you maintain adequate nutrition.
Your treatment may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Anti-diarrheal medication
- Immunosuppressant medication
- Nutritional supplements
If medications fail to alleviate your symptoms or you have health complications such as an intestinal blockage, your gastroenterologist may recommend surgery to remove the diseased section of your bowel.
However, surgery isn’t a cure for Crohn’s disease, and you may continue to develop areas of inflammation and related symptoms.
For expert care from a compassionate team, call Anne Arundel Gastroenterology Associates, P.A. or book an appointment online today.
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